Tournaments are a great way to meet and compete with players from your local area that share the same interests as you. For games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it’s difficult to tell whether or not you have the potential for a community in your local area. Nevertheless, sometimes it can feel daunting to try and create a tournament from nothing.
To successfully organize a Smash Bros. tournament, you’ll need to find an appropriate venue, create a registration page, format your tournament’s rules properly and advertise it out to your local scene as much as possible.
In this article, I’ll discuss how to prepare and manage your first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament. There are 7 main steps to follow in order to properly organize your event and move forward if you decide to continue hosting tournaments. If you’d like to read more about running esports events, we have articles on How to Run a Live Esports Tournament and 10 Mistakes New Esports Event Organizers Make.
1. Find a Venue for your Tournament
To host an event of any kind, you’ll need a location to host it. Finding somewhere that will act as your venue for your event is crucial, seeing as if you want to continue hosting events after your first, the venue will always accommodate for the space required.
The venue should have enough space for 20-30 tournament entrants and enough power outlets to sustain all of the game setups you’ll need. Local Esports-centered businesses, bars and campuses can all act as perfect locations for a tournament. Speak with the owners and managers of any location that you see fit and propose the idea of your event to them.
Finding a location can take weeks or even months of searching, but once you’re able to find a venue that is open to hosting a potential event of yours, you’re set. When proposing your idea to a venue owner, always highlight how your event can benefit them and their business. For example, venues that offer food and drinks have the potential for more sales during tournament hours, thus incentivizing and motivating the venue owner to accept your request.
After a venue is chosen, discuss a date and time for your event. The date should give you enough time to allow you to advertise your event, but still soon enough so that participants can still get excited about the event.
2. Schedule your Event
When deciding on a time, it’s important to take the demographic of your region into account. The average age of most Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitors is in the 15-25-year-old age range, although there can always be exceptions to this depending on your region.
I recommend setting your tournament time between 4 pm and 10 pm, times when most people are finished with work or school. Consult your contact for the tournament venue and communicate a time that would best fit within the venue’s schedule.
3. Create your Registration Page
When creating your registration page, choose and outline the rules for your event. If your city doesn’t have a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate scene already, search up tournament rulesets from events taking place in neighbouring cities as examples for your ruleset.
In creating your registration page, you have to decide on what website you’ll be running the tournament on. Most tournament websites get the job done to keep scores and take registrations, but a multitude of Esports and Super Smash Bros. tournaments are frequently run using Smash.gg, Challonge or Battlefy.
There are a few quintessential questions you should ask yourself when creating your registration page. If you have trouble answering any of these questions, it’s always a smart idea to start small and maybe even host a couple of free entry events before charging an entry fee of any kind.
- Will be if you choose to charge for entry?
- How much money is the fee to enter the tournament?
- How much of it will go towards the prize pool?
- Will any of the entry fees go towards the venue owner?
4. Research and Create a Ruleset
Most large tournaments will run with the same ruleset:
- 3 Stocks
- 7 or 8-minute time limit
- Stage hazards turned off
- No items turned on
Most tournaments will run a double-elimination bracket or round-robin pools during their tournament, but it’s completely up to the organizer’s preference and how many players are registered for your tournament. If you’re unsure on what ruleset to use, Smash.gg wrote an incredible article to understand the different rulesets and their uses. Click to read here.
Another important aspect of choosing a ruleset for your tournament is choosing what stages will be used in the tournament. Most regions can vary what stages can be played during a tournament, though it’s recommended that you match your stage list with that of any local scenes to avoid confusion across tournaments in nearby cities.
In choosing your stage list, you must decide on neutral stages (that are, as the title suggests, fairly neutral and inoffensive to most players), counter pick stages (stages that are much more matchup dependent and have more bold shaping), the number of bans when choosing stages and any clauses that come along with stage choices. These can once again be viewed on the article written over on Smash.gg for more details. The same article can be viewed here.
5. Advertise the Tournament
After deciding on a ruleset, it’s time to advertise the tournament. It’s best to reach out to people you may know that have a broad influence in your area. It’s also appropriate to ask the venue if they can advertise your event on social media or through traditional advertising, though it’s highly recommended to advertise your event digitally.
Always include the following in your tournament advertisement:
- Name of your tournament
- Date and time
- Location of the venue
- Cost of entry
- Available prizes
Above is an advertisement for the major tournament Get On My Level 2022, also known as GOML, taken from their Twitter account. Their tweet contains all of the information listed above but links the cost of entry and the prizes on their registration page, incentivizing the viewer to delve deeper and gain more interest in the tournament.
Advertising is easily the most difficult step in organizing a tournament. You might even be obligated to create graphics to help in advertising your tournament, although simple graphics or visually interesting word posts should be enough when first starting up. However, persistence and perseverance are the key to convincing potential players to stop by your tournament.
6. Manage the Tournament
On the day of the event, show up early to the venue to help with moving furniture, tables, chairs or anything else. It’s your responsibility as a tournament organizer to bring the hardware necessary for the event, although it’s alright to ask participants if they’re able to bring extra setups for the event.
In case of emergencies, you should always be willing to bring any necessary equipment to run the tournament. Always communicate with the venue owner beforehand and check what might need to be brought from the list below.
- Power bars
- Power extension cords
- Game setups (A Nintendo Switch with a Gamecube adapter)
- Computer (For keeping track of the tournament)
When running the event, you want to avoid making the participants feel like they’re wasting their time, or even worse, their money. To avoid that, keep a close eye on the matches that are being played and make sure that there are always matches being played. If the venue isn’t only reserved for your tournament, make sure that the participants of your event are mindful of those around them.
7. Gather Feedback
At the end of your tournament, don’t be shy to ask the entrants about their experience at your event. Ask them what they liked, what they disliked and what they’d like to see changed if you were to host another tournament. If you’re afraid of asking the participants for feedback directly, you can always create and send a short feedback poll to them to take criticism.
Asking players for their input or feedback will help you learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie in event management. What they say may be very critical, but there’s an art in running events that organizers must experience to understand how to properly serve their attendees. Allow the players to talk and hang out while the tournament is underway and, most importantly, make sure everyone is having fun.
Running tournaments is an incredible way to learn new life skills and meet new people, although it can seem daunting to try for the first time. With all that said, your first tournament will most likely be your most difficult to run blindly. However, experience when running tournaments is a valuable asset to have, and your events will only get better the more you run them.