What’s the Last Tournament You Played in?

The last tournament I participated in was filling out a bracket for March Madness. I’m not even sure that counts as participation, but it’s something. Before that–excluding other March Madnesses, it was a soccer tournament I played in 6 years ago with the guys I played with while growing up in Virginia. We lost in the final game.

I recently learned about something called The Basketball Tournament. It’s over now–the final game was earlier this evening. It does a few things that are really interesting for any tournament, so I wanted to get your thoughts on them.

The first is that it’s open to anyone 18 or older. As ESPN says, “From professionals to former college stars, playground legends and weekend warriors. Fifteen women played in The Basketball Tournament before this year.”

I love that idea of having players from all backgrounds compete on the same court, especially the mix of men and women (but without any rules about how many men or women must compete). It reminds me a bit of the MMA tournament in the movie Warrior.

The second is that the stakes are high: The creator of the tournament put up a $2 million prize to the winning team. The second-place team gets nothing.

But here’s the really interesting part about the $2 million prize: While most of it is split amount the players, coaches, manager, and official boosters of the winning team, $200,000 of it goes to the top 100 fans of the winning team. To top it off, the way the teams get into the tournament in the first place is through fan voting.

How cool is that? I love the idea that the fans are financially rewarded for the team they support. I can’t think of any other sporting event that does this. It sounds a little bit like betting, but the fan system they use must be viewed differently in the eyes of the law.

Do you think this would work for other tournaments? Sports, races, e-sports, board games, etc? Would you be just as happy to see your favorite team win the big game as you would to also receive a $2,000 check the next week?

6 Responses to “What’s the Last Tournament You Played in?”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:


    While I don’t follow sports, I’m intrigued by the idea. An area ripe for this type of fan devotion might be found in the realm of video games, and more specifically, StarCraft, and regionally, no place other than Korea. When Blizzard launched StarCraft nearly 20 years ago, it had some hype at the trade show. Flash forward a decade later, and when Blizzard announced StarCraft II, they didn’t do so in L.A. or Las Vegas, two locations notable for tech-related announcements. No, instead they chose Seoul, Korea. Why, because the Koreans are regularly placed in nine of the top 10 leader boards…always. And you want to talk about fans, they have stadiums where people watch two Koreans compete head-to-head on monitors. Yeah, I could see people embracing this fan-appreciation idea overseas.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s really neat, Joe! I like that they shifted the location of the announcement based on the best fan support.

  2. Charles Dionne says:

    This is a very interesting idea and I’m surprised I haven’t heard about this tournament before now! However, I have a question: how are the top 100 fans of the winning team determined? The first 100 fans to follow the team? Or how demonstrative the fans were of their support? I feel like rewarding fans could bring teams fans that may not have cared if it wasn’t for the potential payout. For that reason I’m intrigued by the criteria used to pick the top fans.

    As to the last tournament I played in, my brother organized a 7 Wonders tournament for his birthday this past June and I wish my fans (do I have fans?!) could have had a share of my winnings. My brother works for a yogurt company so I won a nice container of the new flavor they were about to launch! Would have been nice if my top 100 fans could have joined in this sneak peek ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Charles: That’s a great question, and I must admit I don’t know the answer. Perhaps the tournament somehow tracked their online activity in relation to the tournament?

      Congrats on the big win! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Charles Dionne says:

        Since I commented I actually looked it up and it appears that each fan was able to vote for their team up to 4 times, getting a point for each of the 4 votes. A fan could also earn one point each time someone they recruited also voted for the team. Finally, each fan that entered the tournament’s bracket challenge automatically earned 20 points. So, it seems like it was mostly the recruiting effort that would make the difference!

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