Proposal Are Smogon Tournaments dying? The answer might surprise you.

Luigi

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TLDR: they're not dying that bad, but they could be growing better, let's do something about it. Please revert the Smogon Tour times.
and if you look at nothing else in the post, look at the data. it's interesting.


Introduction:

The discourse around the Tournaments community has revolved around the fact that tournaments have been dying for years citing a decrease in the number of sign-ups as well as "less hype", and towards the end of my tenure as a TD in late 2020 I remember noticing and being concerned about these numbers. This thread aims to collect the sign-up numbers so the community has concrete data to address this problem, since no one could really point to actual numbers over a long enough period to be useful. I also added some insights I had after I had collected the data, and some actionable feedback I personally think would be helpful.

I haven't found a good way to measure hype that accounts for the fact that Discord has mostly supplanted forums as a place where tournament discussion happens, so research on hype will need to wait for another scholar.

Methodology:

I chose the year 2015 as the starting point of this because that’s when Classic started, and it’s when I started my involvement in the community, so I could remember any peculiarities about any given tournament to explain outliers.

Sign-ups were counted in this manner:
OST: Anyone that signed up to play
Slam and Classic: Anyone that signed up to play in at least 1 cup
Tour: Anyone that signed up to at least 1 tour
OLT: Anyone that signed up to play any cycle.

OST was measured by looking at how many people posted in the sign-ups thread. Slam, Classic and Tour by how many people are accounted for in the sheet. OLT, by counting each sign-up on the cycle 1 thread, then taking unique signups from subsequent cycles that year and adding them up (yes this was a pain to do).

Grand Slam 2022 is a massive outlier due to Freezai's actions, so I had to do some finagling to get useful data out of it. First I excluded everyone that joined only LC open to arrive at 647 players, then based on the number of people that joined just LC Open 2023, without joining any other opens, determined that there are about 137 LC one-tricks on Smogon. I then added that number to 647 to reach 784 players for that year. If this bothers you, complain to Freezai.

Grand Slam 2015 and Grand Slam 2016’s spreadsheets have been deleted, but in the playoffs of those editions the host said about 800 people joined, and I see no reason to doubt that, so I’ll assume 775 people joined both of those editions. If this bothers you, know that it bothers me too.

Sign-ups for the Ubers and PU opens haven't finished yet as of the posting of this thread, so Grand Slam 2023 numbers might end up slightly higher, but the ones that already signed up have been counted.

Data:

If the tournament year is in RED ITALICS, it had some form of PS advertisement. Other particularities will be noted in parenthesis

Classic:
2015: 495
2016: 508
2017: 495
2018: 989
2019: 858
2020 700
2021 794
(swap with Slam in the schedule)
2022 699


Notes:
1. Classic 2021 had its place in the schedule swapped with Slam, so it happened 13 months after Classic 2020, perhaps accounting for the boost in numbers.

Grand Slam:
2015: "almost 800" (UU, RU, NU, UBERS, DOU, LC)
2016: "close to 800" (UU, RU, NU, PU, UBERS, DOU, LC)
2017: 1839 (UU, RU, NU, UBERS, LC)
2018: 1485 (UU, RU, NU, UBERS, LC)
2019: 950 (UU, RU, NU, PU, LC)
2020: 996 (UU, RU, NU, PU, LC)
2021: 770 (UU, RU, NU, PU, LC) (swap with Classic in the schedule)
2022: 784*/3151 (UU, RU, NU, PU, UBERS, LC)
2023: 895 (UU, RU, NU, PU, UBERS, LC)



Notes:
1. Slam has had many tier changes throughout its history. I don’t think any of them were that impactful to the sign-up numbers. (There's a suggestion in the crash from 2018 to 2019 that Ubers is way more popular than PU, but in years that had both tiers (2016, 2022 and 2023), Ubers and PU opens got almost exactly the same number of sign-ups)
2. Slam 2021 had its place in the schedule swapped with Classic, so it happened only 6 months after Slam 2020, perhaps accounting for the drop in numbers.
3. *Despite not having PS advertisement, Slam 2022 was the biggest tournament ever, due to Freezai Georg, check the methodology to see how I arrived at 784 players.
5. Shoutouts Ticken, more commonly known as Tickoat for help with the 2022 and 2023 data.


OST:
2015: 621 (ORAS) (3 days of sign-ups)
2016: 1011 (ORAS) (4 days of sign-ups)
2017: 895 (SM)
2018: 2652 (SM) (Pokeaim made a video about it)
2019: 1867 (SM)
2020: 1711 (SS) (2 weeks of sign-ups)
2021: 1164 (SS)
2022: 1499 (SS) (cash prize of 1100 dollars)
2023: 1582 (SV)


Notes:
1. OST 2015 only had 3 days for its sign-up thread, because the hosts wanted to keep it down to 512 participants. OST 2016, similarly wanted to cap it at 1024 so it only had 4 days of sign-ups.
2. Joey made a video for OST 2018, but not a direct call to action like Freezai, and the resulting numbers are much closer to the expected for an OST than the LC open numbers were, so I don't think this should be discounted.
3. OST 2020 had its sign-up period extended to 2 weeks to try to reach higher numbers. If sign-ups had ended after 1 week like in other years, the number of sign-ups would have been 1567.
4. Several other editions of OST had prize pools, but they were much smaller and not advertised as much as the prize for OST 2022.
5. Tiers and new gens coming out doesn't seem to have a big impact.



OLT:
2015: 1158 (8 cycles) (ORAS)
2016: 1088 (7 cycles) (ORAS)
2017: 1242 (4 cycles) (SM)
2018: 973 (4 cycles) (SM)
2019: 1004 (4 cycles) (SM)
2020: 823 (4 cycles) (SS)
2021: 712 (4 cycles) (SS)
2022: 816 (4 cycles) (SS)


Notes:
1. OLT already had PS advertisement as early as its first edition in 2014.
2. OLT didn't have PS advertisement in 2018, 2020 and 2021. This may have had long term consequences, reaching as far as 2022, but it's hard to tell.
3. 2018 was a great year for Smogon Tournaments, with many other tournaments setting their record for most sign-ups that year, so one wonders how big OLT 2018 would have been if it had been advertised properly.
4. No one likes laddering SS?

Smogon Tour:
2015: 781 (Pokeaim made a video about it)
2016: 682
2017: 704
2018: 763
2019: 711

2020: 864 (start of the Covid-19 pandemic)
2021: 751
2022: 667
(6 am Friday tours)
2023: 588 (4-Tours format)


2015: 617
2016: 619
2017: 578
2018: 753
2019: 608
2020: 666
2021: 635

2022: 572 (9 am Friday tours)



Notes:
1. Joey made a video for season 19, but not a direct call to action like Freezai, and the resulting numbers are much closer to the expected for a Tour season than the LC open numbers were, so I don't think this should be discounted
2. The start of the pandemic coinciding with Smogon Tour 29 explains why that was the biggest season ever.
3. The only time the Fall Tour came close to overtaking the Spring Tour was in 2018, the first year they received PS advertisements. I don't know why it responded so well to advertises that year and not others.
4. It seems evident that the schedule changes that started in season 33 have had a very negative impact in sign-up numbers. Obviously we've seen individual tours getting abysmal numbers but the overall numbers for the season are affected too.
5. Beyond that, the changes made in Season 35, to a 4-Tour format has been catastrophic. There's no other word for it. This is a tour that got less than 40 sign-ups. The last time this happened was Season 5 in 2007.


Analysis
:

The data is really the most important part of the post, feel free to offer your own conclusions with regards to it. These are just some things that I noticed and thought were worth mentioning.

PS Advertisement:

Evident in our data is that the tournaments that received PS advertisements had significantly higher sign-ups than those that didn’t, especially noticeable when comparing the first year that received it against the previous year. Classic doubled in numbers, Grand Slam and OST more than doubled. Spring Smogon Tour had a more modest increase, Fall Smogon Tour had a comparatively huge one, and OLT also generally does better in years it’s advertised in.

This happened in 2018 for tournaments that occur in the first half of the year, and in 2017 for tournaments in the second half (other than for OLT, which has had it since the first edition, and has also been very big since its first edition), because that’s when Ciele and I noticed that the Monotype Premier League III had a number of sign-ups comparable to SPL, despite being you know, monotype. We looked into and found out it was because it advertised itself on the PS news tab, and started doing the same for our tournaments.

Dying

But after the huge leap that came from the first time it was advertised on PS, our numbers tend to decrease, which is what created the perspective that Smogon was dying in the first place. Looking at the tournaments with the biggest increases, Classic has a 14% decrease, Slam has a 20% decrease, OST had a 30% decrease. Then the third year (fourth in OST’s case) after the initial PS advertisement also has a sharp decline, Classic: 19%, Slam: 37%, OST only falls by 9% on the third year, because we extended the signups, but on the 4th year, they plummet by 32%.

Smogon Tour on the other hand did not experience a crash like this, likely due to the fact that it didn't experience such a big increase in the first place (Fall Tour 2018 is an outlier I don't know how to explain), and has instead remained mostly consistent, except for the schedule changes, which cratered attendance. The mirage that all tours shrunk catastrophically, alongside the fact that Smogon Tour did shrink catastrophically, created the idea that it was inevitable that having 2 Smogon Tour seasons per year was unsustainable. In reality, I think almost all of the problem is due to the schedule change.

OLT is weird because it started out having PS advertisement, and then stopped, then had it again, then stopped again and now has it again, which makes it hard to draw conclusions based on the data. Regardless, it's clear that PS advertisement helps, even though OLT always has some form of PS advertisement in the form of the OLT room.

True Sizes

After these sharp decreases (for the tours that had them), the numbers tend to stabilize over multiple years on to the “true size” of the tournament.

Notice that before PS advertisement, tournaments tended to have around the same size, with outliers accounted for. Slams 2015 and 2016 had "around 800" people, OST would have had 1000ish people 3 years in a row if OST 2015 hadn't cut the sign-ups short after 3 days. Classic had almost exactly 500 people the first 3 editions, etc.

The size we can expect a given tournament to be without outside factors, other than PS advertisement which is something we can control, and should apply to all tournaments, is then the true size of the tournament. Taking the average of the last few years post-crash, I arrived at:

OST: about 1500 people
Slam: about 900 people
OLT: about 850 people
Spring Tour: about 750 people*
Classic: about 700 people
Fall Tour: about 650 people*

(*I excluded seasons 33-35, because the altered times made those seasons into huge outliers, and this is easily fixable by going back to the standard time. I didn't count season 29 due to the pandemic.)

All of these numbers, which represent the size these tournaments had the last few years are higher than the numbers those same tournaments were putting up in the days before PS advertising, except for OLT.

This is something I didn't expect to find before I started making this thread but it leads me to the conclusion that Smogon Tournaments aren't actually dying and are instead just regressing to a stable number of sign-ups, which is determined by how interesting that tournament is to the wider public, which happens to be a lower number than the original super-inflation cause by the initial wave of PS advertisements. So in other words, we aren't dying, so much as we've stagnated hard, and it only appears like that due to a mirage caused by how crazy 2018 was. Those numbers were crazy outliers, what we have now is normal. I don't really know how to reverse this stagnation but I think there are some very actionable takeaways from the data here, namely:


Advertising on PS:

Advertising on PS is incredibly powerful, to the point that it has fooled us into thinking the section is dying, but in reality we haven't fully explored it yet. For one, we dropped the ball with slam once and with OLT 3 times, which is unacceptable. Every tournament should get as much PS promotion as possible. Beyond that, we need to be better about advertising.OLT has always taken advantage of its closer relationship with PS (the OLT room), I propose we do that with other tournaments too.
All of this is contingent on the PS side of things, but in my experience they are very friendly and down to work with tournaments, and this doesn't strike me as particularly intrusive of PS's design. PS higher ups please do comment on the feasibility of these things.

OLT and Smogon Tour can be joined at any time pretty much so I propose that, for the duration of Smogon Tour season and OLT's cycles duration, there should be a permanent advertisement for those tournaments on the PS sidebar. Make an event out of it, like a seasonpass in a videogame. It could look something like this:

Smogon Tour season is ongoing! Join some of the Tours happening this weekend, head over to "discord link" for the details.
OLT is ongoing! head over to the OLT room for the details!

For Slam, Classic and OST, for which this approach isn't feasible, I suggest that we start advertising way ahead of time.

Like 1 month before OST sign-ups:
Countdown until Sign-ups for the Official Smogon Tournament: 31 days!
and then post about it on PS again for each new round, really make an event out of it. Could even get a custom PS background for the week sign-ups stay up for (like how we have one for April Fools)

Youtubers:

The boost some tournaments got out of a Freezai or Joey video are noticeable and obviously desirable. The Freezai bump for Slam 2022 entailed other things, but the Joey videos were relatively simple. It's as easy as them making a 4 minute video. The problem is convincing them to make it lol. It seems to me that everyone benefits from Smogon Tournaments growing, including them, but maybe that's not incentive enough, IDK.

This relies on external forces outside of Smogon's control, so there's not much to say here, other than if there is a way to activate youtuber fanbases (which are clearly interested in tournaments already, they just don't know where to find them) that would be worth its weight in gold.

Smogon Tour

Lost amidst the talk of Smogon dying is the fact Smogon Tour is dying. This is actually happening. But there is such an obviously actionable thing we can do to combat it, as shown by the data.

Simply revert back to the times we had in Season 32, and the numbers will probably normalize. I beg that you do this and await to see the results before cutting one of the Seasons out of the schedule. If the TD's decide that even though the APC crowd is miniscule, and that appealing to them costs Smogon Tour a bunch of users from elsewhere, then at least revert the 4-Tour format, because that seems to be even less conducive to increasing sign-ups.

Keeping the 4-Tour format is basically actively sabotaging the tournament, at this point.

Clutter:

another reoccurring meme in the community is the idea that the latter half of the year is too cluttered with tournaments, which decreases the sign-ups of some of them. The data on this is extremely limited, but something I noticed is that when Slam went from the cluttered end of the year to the relatively free beginning, it took a hit in attendance, while Classic that went from the free beginning to the cluttered end had a bump.

But notice that 1 year later they were both close to their "true sizes". I believe that this was a case of burnout for Slam, and absence making the heart grow fonder for Classic in 2021, and the the 2020/2022 numbers are the real ones for both of those tournaments, which would suggest clutter isn't that big of a deal.

That being said, another takeaway from this would be that we should try to swap things around the schedule as infrequently as possible. Which is already our standing policy, but yeah.

Tiers:

I didn't notice anything interesting about sign-ups changing based on tiers, maybe I missed something, but the OST numbers seemed to be explained by other factors much more than they are explained by what the current generation is (regardless of new games coming out). Same thing with Slam and its ever changing tier millieu. Seems to me that the soul of the tournament itself is more important than the given tiers.

The only thing it might be relevant to is that no one likes laddering SS for OLT. We'll test this hypothesis with OLT this year I guess.

Conclusion:

The most important part of this thread is the data itself and the fact that the numbers aren't as grim as people, myself included, seemed to think they were, so maybe we can slow down the fear-mongering about the site dying, and instead focus on fixing the parts that can be fixed (Smogon Tour) and improve the parts that can be improved (advertising).

Draw your own conclusions from it and post it in this thread. I welcome any discussion about it and the general topic of "revitalizing Smogon Tournaments", call it peer review. I don't know if another 2018 is possible, but we could certainly get more mileage out of what we have.
 
Last edited:
I don’t have any fresh, hot solutions for this topic but I want to commend and thank you for taking the time to collect data here.

A realistic look that sprinkles in more optimism than most is needed around these parts.

I agree the 2nd tour can stay but if the fairy thing happens(???) then I really think it should replace fall tour. ST / OLT / NewThing (and SCL, Classic but at least classic has less tier or playerbase overlap) simultaneously seems very obviously undesirable.

Re: ST times, I understand the desire to accommodate “everyone” but the price paid is simply too high. That’s the harsh reality of it.
 

Amaranth

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UPL Champion
Thank you very much for this work.

Let's address the elephant in the room and talk about Smogon Tour. The following are my personal opinions and not representative of the Tournament Directors team.

First, an objection to the presented data.
Counting total signups across all tours seems way more representative to me than counting how many people joined at least once. With that in mind, look at these numbers:
image_2023-05-11_102013966.png


There's no sharp drop between 33 and 35, but there is one between 31 and 33. While the change to 4 tours hasn't corresponded to a boost in overall numbers like we hoped, it's hardly been "catastrophic". Pointing at the 39-signup tour in Week 9 is disingenuous - obviously with 4 tours the playerbase is going to be split a bit further, and the individual tours will have lower numbers. But Week 9 in total is overall projected to match if not outdo ST33's.
So, as far as "inclusive solutions" go, I think you can make the case that the 4 tour format hasn't impacted things negatively much if at all.

I pushed for these changes in ST35 to make the tournament friendly to Asia/Pacific regions, to the best of our abilities within the geographical timezone costraints. I wanted to actually cater to them before concluding that catering them is a waste of time. I'm satisfied on that end. I think the ST33 format was a half-assed attempt doomed to failure, significantly worsening things for Western players while not really making ST viable for the Eastern ones. I think ST35's 4-tour format is fine.

So the big question is very simple. Should we keep trying to include APAC regions in this way?
I think having a trophy tournament that some sections of the playerbase have no access to whatsoever is unacceptable.
I also think the numbers paint a clear picture. Luigi has done well to explain it.
I think trying to cater a live event globally is a losing battle, and I feel comfortable saying that now that we have tried it and seen the outcome. The half-and-half of ST33 and the full commit of ST35 both simply returned much, much lower numbers - there is no arguing against that.

Above all - ST32, with the old 6/4/2 times, saw two players from Asia/Pacific regions qualify for top 16 (pj, India and qtipsa, China). ST33 (9AM tour) saw one (false, Australia), ST34 saw none, and ST35 is on track to see only one (ChrisPBacon, Australia). Overall turnout is rather difficult to establish since we can't easily parse through large numbers of players based on their residence, but a thorough scroll through ST33-34-35 Standings reveals relatively little overall presence even outside of playoffs.

For context, a list of the top 5 APAC players in each of the "inclusive" Smogon Tours:
ST33: 1. false (Australia, 32pts) // 2. damien the genius (Australia, 18pts) // 3. freezai (India, 16pts) // 4. Metallica126 (China, 14pts) // 5. ChickWayne (China, 12pts)
ST34: 1. Proftreez (South Korea, 17pts) // 2. damien the genius (Australia, 16pts) // 3. Leavers (Australia, 16pts) // 4. pj (India, 13pts) // 5. So Noisy (India, 11pts)
ST35: 1. ChrisPBacon (Australia, 35pts) // 2. pj (India, 23pts) // 3. Leavers (Australia, 19pts) // 4. skimmythegod (India, 14pts) // 5. Kaif & myjava (Bangladesh and India, 12pts)

And then compare to the last seasons of 6/4/2:
ST32: 1. qtipsa (China, 30pts) // 2. pj (India, 29pts) // 3. Metallica126 (China, 13pts) // 4. freezai (India, 13pts) // 5. Mimikyu Stardust (Indonesia, 12pts)
ST31: 1. shawyu 1313 (China, 23pts) // 2. devin (Pakistan, 17pts) // 3. IPF (India, 13pts) // 4. byronthewellwell (Australia, 11pts) / 5. ToastedBunzzz02 (India, 10pts)
(not going further bc lazy + I feel like these numbers already prove my point)

I will always argue for inclusion, but I think all the data points at one fact: the logistics of Smogon Tour make it impossible to have a truly inclusive experience. The best attempts to work towards that goal within the current format of ST have only resulted in a massive drop in numbers and no discernible difference in results for the players that were supposed to be 'included'.

A true push for inclusion would have to be willing to bend the format somewhat, rather than just shifting times around. If we are not ready to do that, then I believe Smogon Tour should return to the Western-friendly 6/4/2 times, or at best a small divergence on them.

I am prepared to type my fingers off arguing in favor of complementing the historically successful Western-friendly 6/4/2 Smogon Tour with an Eastern Qualifier of sorts. A vast majority of live competitions in any sport have local qualifiers to ease logistics, I don't see what would make that impossible here. But we can talk about that at a later date.
 

Theia

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Hello and good morning, posting here on behalf of the Upper Staff team since we were mentioned.

For one, we dropped the ball with slam once and with OLT 3 times, which is unacceptable. Every tournament should get as much PS promotion as possible.
I think that I (mostly) handled this this year by contacting Merritt at the beginning of January and asking him to reserve all of the necessary dates in advance so nothing was missed by accident. Between myself, Kennedy, and BP, news (usually) goes out on time, so this is probably the system we should use moving into future years.

OLT and Smogon Tour can be joined at any time pretty much so I propose that, for the duration of Smogon Tour season and OLT's cycles duration, there should be a permanent advertisement for those tournaments on the PS sidebar. Make an event out of it, like a seasonpass in a videogame. It could look something like this:
This isn't super feasible since PS' current news system doesn't allow for us to "stick" posts and we'd have to remake the news post every time we posted a new one to keep the tournament one on top. Additionally, news space is already at a premium, especially Monday slots, and we'd rather not cripple other tours' advertisement space, as well as the PS! room events we occasionally advertise in there.

Overall, we're super happy to explore options for helping out with advertising the Big Tours on PS!, but anything that requires a UI change isn't super feasible. The large majority of PS users are casual players who don't use Smogon or have much interest in these tournaments, and we don't want to make additional changes to the homepage that would be intrusive for these users (especially taking into account those poor souls who use mobile PS!)

We are, however, more than happy to listen to suggestions on how to improve the Tournaments button that is currently on the PS! homepage. It was added earlier this year with the stated intention of making Smogon tournaments more visible on PS!. It's the only big change we've made to the PS! homepage in a few years, but it's probably not fully optimized yet and might be able to be improved further.

Could even get a custom PS background for the week sign-ups stay up for (like how we have one for April Fools)
Something like this would have a few layers. For one, a lot of people on PS! already use a custom background and we're not going to override those for what are essentially advertisements. For two, any art to be added would have to be vetted and approved by the Upper Staff team, or at the very least Zarel. It would probably also have to be commissioned, which wouldn't be something we would handle.

It seems to me that everyone benefits from Smogon Tournaments growing, including them, but maybe that's not incentive enough, IDK.
To touch on this very briefly, PS! does also offer benefits to YouTubers or Twitch Streamers who have a decently sized following and use PS!, which includes a name reset to the account that matches their channel, a personal custom avatar, and possible support such as rooms or prizes for PS!-centered events that they hold. I'm not sure how widely advertised this is and maybe we could do a better job in that department to communicate that to content creators.

All in all, thank you very much for making this post, it's obvious that a lot of work and effort went into it. The PS! team is happy to help you guys out in whatever way is feasible for our side of things.
 

Perry

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I do agree with the post overall basic point: we need to advertise our tournaments more. We need to use every tool available to us: PS!, Social Media, and even Smogon's discord to get our signups to more people. But the huge point is: are we only looking to increase signup size, or are we hoping to get more active players?

I was responsible to gather data for 7 tournaments throughout the years: Slam VII, VIII, IX and X; Classic IV, V, VI. I also hosted some cups and opens myself while I was not a TD, and I even hosted both tournaments themselves when I was a TD three times, if I remember things correctly. So trust me, size itself is not all. We may have big tours, but tell me: is it better to have bigger tournaments with huge number of act wins because people never came back, or smaller tours with a more engaged playerbase?

Slam X had 717 unique signups, with 285 (or roughly 40%) of these staying at 0 points. Classic VII had 658 unique signups, with 235 (or approx. 36%) staying at 0 points. Slam IX had around 40% of players at 0 as well, while Classic VI hovered at roughly 37% staying at 0 points, with the pandemic boost not necesserely affecting this. Going back to 2019, Slam VIII had 35% of its unique signups at 0, while Classic V shot over to 45%. What does all of this mean? Before the tour itself started, we could expect for 40% players of a single Slam or Classic to never achieve a single point, and looking around at the players that lost these years, I'd say around 70% of these players were the ones that either did not know how to schedule or just didn't ever come back to Smogon after joining. This is a estimation from someone who either hosted and/or maintained data for these years, you may check for themselves if you doubt me.

Now, we have Slam XI. Slam XI had 647 unique participants without considering LC Open, and a whooping 3150 unique participants if you do consider LC Open, and roughly 56% of Slam XI's players ended up with 0 points. YoY, we had a 339% increase to our unique players but we also had a increase of almost 520% to the amount of players that didn't get a single point. If you compare it to Classic VIII, which had just 25% of its players at 0 points, you can image what I'm getting at: advertising by itself is NOT the answer, and even if you do everything Luigi just said to do regarding PS! and Youtube, it will mean we are just inflating numbers of unique signups without retaining any new players. If we do not retain new talent, it means that tournaments may not be dying now. But trust me, they will start do die as our top players eventually retire, not to mention the loss of perceived quality and prestige to our tournaments.

Disclaimer: Yes, I only used Smogon Slam and Classic here to gather data. Other individuals do not have sheets and therefore it's hard to compare data between them, while Smogon Tour has a whole different set of problems to them (live tournaments, different server, some days are perceived by some to be better, players like x tier more, you also have to join the tournament in a set window, and so on). Furthermore, the last four seasons have had approx. 28% of their players with 0 points, but it's harder to gather how many joined without ever joining Smogtours as you do not have act posts like you do for Slam and Classic.

My arguments ends with the conclusion that just utilizing prize money, Youtube or PS! to gather signups without getting these people to play our other tournaments in the future is not what we want. And, if we want these people to stay, we must teach them how to play our tournaments. That means teaching how to schedule with your opponent, what is Smogtours, what is a Bye, what is an activity win, what is a tournament ban, and so on. There is no sheet yet for Grand Slam XII, but tell me, how many players that created an account on Smogon because of freezai's video to join LC Open decided to join Slam again this year? Do you think we, as a community, created any way to retain these people so they could decide to play other tournaments?

However, by no means I'm against publicity, and I am willing to help PS! and Tours with brainstorming if they ever require it of me. I volunteered my time and efforts for a whole year back in 2021 to Smogon's Social Media team because this is where I thought we would eventually get new players, and the team worked hard to make Smogon Tournaments less of a complicated thing for our casual audience: WCoP recaps, live coverage of finals, even getting BKC to create a video explaining how Smogon Tour works and starting to advertise them in Smogon's Discord. But, trust me, the amount of people that follow Smogon's Social Medias to the amount of people that play PS! is almost insignificant. If you were ever to check the amount of clicks the Tournament button on PS! generates daily, I'd bet with anyone that it'd surpass the amount a tweet or Facebook post would get over months.

And that is the main issue: how do we get players that only join PS! casually to play Random Battles and talk to their friends in their respective language rooms about the anime or whatever? How do we get them to come over to Smogon and join our tournaments? What Theia has stated above should be our (not just tournaments', but Smogon's) goal:

The large majority of PS users are casual players who don't use Smogon or have much interest in these tournaments
Get these people interested in us. It's how we get new talent, it's how our tournaments will actually grow.
 

chimp

Go Bananas
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Hello and good morning, posting here on behalf of the Upper Staff team since we were mentioned.


I think that I (mostly) handled this this year by contacting Merritt at the beginning of January and asking him to reserve all of the necessary dates in advance so nothing was missed by accident. Between myself, Kennedy, and BP, news (usually) goes out on time, so this is probably the system we should use moving into future years.


This isn't super feasible since PS' current news system doesn't allow for us to "stick" posts and we'd have to remake the news post every time we posted a new one to keep the tournament one on top. Additionally, news space is already at a premium, especially Monday slots, and we'd rather not cripple other tours' advertisement space, as well as the PS! room events we occasionally advertise in there.

Overall, we're super happy to explore options for helping out with advertising the Big Tours on PS!, but anything that requires a UI change isn't super feasible. The large majority of PS users are casual players who don't use Smogon or have much interest in these tournaments, and we don't want to make additional changes to the homepage that would be intrusive for these users (especially taking into account those poor souls who use mobile PS!)

We are, however, more than happy to listen to suggestions on how to improve the Tournaments button that is currently on the PS! homepage. It was added earlier this year with the stated intention of making Smogon tournaments more visible on PS!. It's the only big change we've made to the PS! homepage in a few years, but it's probably not fully optimized yet and might be able to be improved further.


Something like this would have a few layers. For one, a lot of people on PS! already use a custom background and we're not going to override those for what are essentially advertisements. For two, any art to be added would have to be vetted and approved by the Upper Staff team, or at the very least Zarel. It would probably also have to be commissioned, which wouldn't be something we would handle.


To touch on this very briefly, PS! does also offer benefits to YouTubers or Twitch Streamers who have a decently sized following and use PS!, which includes a name reset to the account that matches their channel, a personal custom avatar, and possible support such as rooms or prizes for PS!-centered events that they hold. I'm not sure how widely advertised this is and maybe we could do a better job in that department to communicate that to content creators.

All in all, thank you very much for making this post, it's obvious that a lot of work and effort went into it. The PS! team is happy to help you guys out in whatever way is feasible for our side of things.
Sorry if I am wrong or misunderstanding or just dumb, but is it not possible for us to utilize the 'Tournaments" tabs a little bit more effectively:
Here is what it looks like for me right now:
1683817568660.png

The Smogon Tour 35 section is fine. Though would it not be possible to have more information about when the tours are being held? Would a link to the standings also be feasible to add in there? I feel like the more we hold people's hands in terms of finding this information, the more they will care about it. People love topping the ladder and seeing their name/achievements on display, I think that would hold true for a tournament such as Smogon Tour- rather than keeping that information deep in the labyrinths of the sub-forums.

The OST section seems like it could also use some work? The tab says 'click here for more information and sign-ups' but clicking it reveals that the OST has ended. Is it not possible for us to maintain sections for official tours with more information as the tournament progresses- like with replays, when matches are scheduled, or, at the very least, who won the tournament / standings? (I think it would be really cool to have something like this in general, even for smaller tournaments. If people love topping the ladder for no reward other than clout- wouldn't they love topping tournament standings for nothing but clout)

There seems to be some problems with the Open-Sign Ups tab as well. The AG Ladder Tournament links to a thread that is closed, since that tournament is now in its playoffs phase.

The Sword & Shield Premier League also links to a sign-ups thread that is closed, since the auction has already happened. This is also the case for the the Smogon VGC draft. Feel like one of the requirements for being in the 'Open Sign-Ups' section is that the sign-ups are actually open. I also think splitting it between 'Open Sign-Ups' and 'Pokemon Showdown' is a bit misleading? The 'Pokemon Showdown' section has tournaments that are currently accepting players- why are they not in the Open Sign Ups section? What is the point of splitting them off just because they are run by rooms on Showdown? They all still link to threads on the Forums.

I know this would be a lot of additional work to maintain, but if we believe that PS advertising is what helps tournaments, this seems like a good place to start. Perhaps in the PS Tournament Advertisement thread require posters to put when sign-ups close, and then just remove them off the sign-ups page when that date arrives? I know of many mass-advertising hubs on discord that do similar processes for other games. Regardless, I think we could use this page to really drive hype for tournaments. I'd be willing to help maintain that if you need people to do so.
 

Theia

I danced for you for the last time
is a Tournament Directoris a Site Content Manageris a Social Media Contributoris a Member of Senior Staffis a Community Contributoris a Top Contributoris a Top Smogon Media Contributoris a Top Dedicated Tournament Hostis a Battle Simulator Admin Alumnus
User Safety Lead
There seems to be some problems with the Open-Sign Ups tab as well.
For clarity, the Tournaments tab is manually updated by (to my knowledge) like two people, maybe three (shoutout to Star the GOAT for carrying the IS thread) so it's exceedingly likely that we'll miss things.

With that being said, we reached out to the lovely and amazing Mia (who is also the one behind the original Tournaments page, s/o her) and she has pushed an addition to the page that includes a field for an end date for signups and the functionality for the signup to expire automatically when that date is reached, so that will be live soon(?) and hopefully that helps alleviate some of the above mentioned issues, so make sure to say your thanks to her!
 

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