Why hasn’t my event been approved yet?

Your request has not been lost! We do our best to avoid scheduling our events too near Pro Tour Qualifiers, especially in high-volume areas where it’s already hard to avoid conflict. We’re approving events in those areas as the PTQ schedule is released. Remember that those with higher Organizer Rewards status and those who submitted their requests first will get priority approval if there are multiple requests for the same date—just another reason to level up your Organizer Rewards! If you have any more questions regarding scheduling or want to see a question featured in next month’s mailbag, email us at isp@starcitygames.com and we’ll get it answered!

The 2014 Spring Season is Here!

With a new season come new Invitational Qualifier and Open Trial artwork and products. The latest Spring products feature Kristen Plescow’s Sphinx artwork for IQs and Celestial Dragon artwork for OTs. Sign up to get yours today! As the Spring season begins, you can start planning ahead and schedule July events. Don’t forget to check your inboxes at the beginning of every month for this newsletter, where we’ll announce the next window to schedule your events!

Learn to Play, Love to Play

Pulling up stakes and leaving a store in Montana to start a new business in Tampa, Florida can’t be easy, but Todd Schreier of Learn 2 Play Games makes it look that way. Within four weeks of opening, Learn 2 Play reached Advanced on the Wizards Play Network and regularly hosts successful Invitational Qualifiers. While Todd attributes some of his growth to StarCityGames.com In-Store Programs, much of it is due to his abilities as a tournament organizer and store owner. Read on as he shares some of his secrets and tips with me.

Todd’s first store, Good Games, opened in 2009 with a tournament that drew players from all over Montana for a foil playset of Baneslayer Angels. He ran a series of tournaments offering Moxes when Learn 2 Play opened. Running tournaments with high-profile prizes is invaluable in getting a new store’s name out to the players, but Todd also said, “Implementing the Invitational Qualifiers in Tampa, Florida is the best decision I have made for tournament play. I went from basic to Core in four days, Core to Advanced in four weeks. Each tournament the turnout keeps on getting better.”

With a second Learn 2 Play location opening soon, Todd told me, “We are moving up to have four IQs a month. I trust the brand and the team behind all that is StarCityGames.com.”

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Advertising communicates who you are and what you do to your local Magic-playing community. It doesn’t have to be expensive; posters are inexpensive, while social media and word-of-mouth are free. The more people who know about your store, the better your business!

Brand awareness is crucial for Magic stores, especially those with competitors nearby. When players know about your store and what it has to offer, they are more likely to show up at your events and buy your products.

Remember to show your strengths as you try to build your brand. Emphasize your friendly service and great deals. Players remember which stores cater to them … and which don’t. Read more

In what formats can I run my Invitational Qualifiers?

Invitational Qualifiers can be any of four formats: Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Sealed. While $25 is the maximum entry fee you may charge players for Constructed IQs (Standard, Modern, and Legacy), you may charge up to $30 for Sealed IQs. Open Trials are more flexible, as any Magic format is acceptable and entry fees are determined by you, the tournament organizer. If you have questions about tournament formats or you want to ask something else for the mailbag, please send us an email at isp@starcitygames.com and we’ll be happy to assist!

The ISP Scheduling Window is Changing!

Welcome to the March In-Store Programs newsletter!

Before the 2014 Spring Season begins next month, Star City Games has an important announcement about the scheduling window for ISP event sign-ups. Instead of opening on a season-by-season basis, the scheduling window will open by months. At the beginning of April, July will open for event sign-ups. At the start of May, the August scheduling window opens, and so on.

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EV Heroes

Ask any competitive Magic player how a tournament’s EV (expected value) factors into deciding between which tournament to attend, and the higher EV tournament will win every time. Matthew Rubio of Game Heroes in Arvada, Colorado, knows this and has had great success by increasing the minimum prize payout at his store’s, StarCityGames.com Invitational Qualifiers. By increasing the prize pool (and thus the EV of the tournaments), Game Heroes has had more than 80 players at a Regular IQ! That’s more than double the average attendance for an IQ, that’s 80 potential customers in the store, and that’s more valuable exposure for Game Heroes.

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Building Customer Relationships

The key to any successful small business is customer service, and the key to customer service is consistency. Players and customers alike want to feel that they are welcome and appreciated every time they walk through your doors. They want to have confidence in you, as an organizer, to create the best experience possible for the players not only during events, but also when they are simply buying or browsing the store. Building great customer relationships can be done in just a few easy steps:

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If I am a Level 3 Organizer in 2014, will my Organizer Rewards Status roll over into next year?

Yes, your Organizer Status carries over year to year based on your cumulative points earned during the previous calendar year. For example, if you earn Level 3 Organizer Status during 2014, you will begin 2015 as a Level 3 Organizer. In 2015, however, if you only earn enough points to reach Level 2 Organizer Status, then you will begin 2016 as a Level 2 Organizer. Although your status may change from year to year, your total unused points will still be valid and redeemable as long as you have an organizer account with us. When you are ready to redeem your points, don’t forget that all you need to do is email us at scgor@starcitygames.com and we will credit those points toward your next event! We are excited that there will soon be a “Point Store” in the payment section of Organizer Tools, in which you will be able to do this yourself when you are ready to redeem your points!

Introducing Double Point Open Trials!

Our very first Double Point Open Trial Week is fast approaching! All Open Trials scheduled during the week of Monday, March 24th through Friday, March 28th will earn a whopping 300 Organizer Rewards Points, the same as an Elite IQ! In addition, you can also earn 50 Bonus Points for timely payment within seven days of approval and up to 80 Points with a Premium Plus Swag Pack. That’s 430 Points! The last day to sign up is February 24th, so don’t forget to take advantage of this great offer! Also, stay tuned to your inboxes to learn more about future Double Point Weeks. For more information, visit our Open Trial info page!