Winner takes all: A closer look at games tournaments

Competitions have proven to be successful campaigns for brands, whether it’s boosting their awareness or increasing sales. Rhys Troake finds out how kids aren’t the only winners when it comes to these tournaments.
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It’s an age-old tradition to settle down with friends, family or even just yourself with a game or puzzle. But finding new ways to enjoy a classic game always keeps things interesting and brands have been doing so by hosting competitions and tournaments based around their products.

By holding such events, companies are finding they can have powerful new platforms for fans to enjoy their brands.

Rubik’s hosts a number of global competitions for its cubing fanatics. The firms believes that through holding these kinds of competitions, it allows Cube fans to meet one another, compare techniques and share tips.

“Rubik’s Brand Ltd organises regulated competitions around the world for all Cubing and Twisting puzzle fanatics to come together to meet like-minded individuals, share tips, exchange solving methods and to have fun competing for the quickest time under fair and equal conditions,” marketing manager at Rubik’s, Hayley Woodward, tells ToyNews.

Finding additional ways to enjoy games and puzzles is a great way to keep a product in the public eye and holding competitions, like Paul Lamond’s annual Perudo tournament, is one way to do this.

Speaking on the matter, Richard Wells, sales director at Paul Lamond Games, stated: “Competitions and tournaments provide a fantastic additional platform to place games in front of the end user and can also help maintain longevity in the brand.”

Elsewhere, education is proving another key focus for brands initiating tournaments.

When launching The Bananagrams Challenge last year – a school tournament for UK children in Key Stage Two - Bananagrams saw it ?as a way of making the game important in the classroom, as well as getting the product in the hands of a raft of children.

“Our chief objective was to position Bananagrams as an ideal classroom tool for boosting the literacy for UK primary school children,” Rena Nathanson, Top Banana at Bananagrams, tells ToyNews. “However, at the same time, we saw it as the perfect strategy for getting our games into the hands of 15,000 children and their teachers.”

As Nathanson mentions, the campaigns are also a great way to get the product into the hands of consumers and promote awareness of the brands, something Paul Lamond found with a Subbuteo campaign back in 2012.

“They create a higher awareness of the brand and this in turn supports the retailer, who then benefits from sales off the shelf,” adds Paul Lamond’s Wells. “When we brought Subbuteo back to the marketplace in 2012, we supported the launch with a table football tournament which resulted in fantastic visibility of the brand.”

The tournaments may boost brand awareness, but does this mean an actual increase in game sales?

Bananagrams found that providing participating schools with discounts for its products did result in a boost in sales.

“We provided all participating schools with a discount code for parents, children and schools to use to purchase additional games at a discounted rate,” adds Nathanson.

“We were able to track sales via these codes and gather qualitative feedback with all participating schools after the event, which showed that many teachers and families went on to purchase more copies of the game as a direct result of playing the game.”

Overall, competitions and tournaments prove to be a success for the brands that hold them.

Not only is it a different and exciting platform for fans to play the game, but also promotes brand awareness, leading to an increase in sales that only goes to boost a game’s profile. And, should an event take off, it can evolve into a new, important date on the fans’ (and industry’s) calender. Something Rubik’s has experienced first hand.

“The competitions grow each year, with now over 300 events taking part all around the globe and the World Championships taking place every two years,” adds Rubik’s Woodward.

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