Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turnout Rebound

Last week's Turnout
Last year, when the MLTA hosted it's 7th Summer Season, we did things a little differently than we had in the past.  Quick history lesson about our laser tagging group: we've always held our games on a weekly basis at the same location, day-of-the-week, and time.  We did this so that folks could work it into their busy summer schedules and always know when there were games even if they didn't have contact information for us.

So what's the deal with the slump of attendance we've had recently?

Season 7's highest turnout
I'd say that our attendance peaked around Season 4 (2009) or 5 (2010), where the average turnout for each game was between 25 and 35 players per week.  In 2011, attendance crested between 24-28 per game and last year our attendance was between 18 and 26.  As an event coordinator, it's important to identify patterns and trends that lead to attendance numbers to see if anything can be improved.

Our drop in attendance last year could be traced back to a few issues that inhibited turnout.  The first being the unseasonably brutal summer we had.  Much of the summer was rain-free with record heat that put the state in an Extreme Drought category.  I'm pretty sure the only watering the park got was from the sweat dripping off our players each week.  The second being that we switched to an "every other week" schedule instead of a weekly system.  Its tougher to spread the word and get folks to figure out if we're on an "off" week or not.  Sometimes, when there wasn't a game scheduled, I'd get a call from folks who had showed up to the park looking for us.

Laser Challenge and Lazer Tag gear in a mixed game
It could also have dropped due to a system switch.  In 2012, we officially changed 2 things.  First, we replaced our aging Laser Challenge armory with Lazer Tag-brand Phoenix LTXs and the then-new Lazer Tag Augmented Reality blasters.  I did this to promote folks buying their own gear since Laser Challenge hadn't been on store shelves in years.  As a result, we also switched from the "Omaha Laser Challenge Association" (OLCA) to the "Midwest Laser Tag Association" (MLTA) to broaden our target both equipment-wise and on a regional basis.  Many players have purchased their own blasters in the last year or so, but we also have less of an armory available.  With the OLCA, I used to bring a 40 set Laser Challenge armory to loan out at games.  With the MLTA, I only have a public armory able to equip 18 players with Phoenix LTX blasters.  We also have a reserve set of older LTTO blasters that can be used for larger-turnout games, but we haven't had to tap into those yet this year.

Tonight, the Midwest Laser Tag Association has it's third game of the season.  I've been trying to invite people like crazy, especially considering the fantastic weather we're slated to have this evening.  Things look promising, but based off the attendance we've seen the last two games (12 for game #1, 10 for game #2), it needs to be much more than just ME inviting folks.  Last week, after the game, I urged our players to spread the word and invite folks to games.  If our attendance remains stagnant at 10-12 players per game, this might be the last summer for laser tag, and I'd hate to kill a tradition that's almost a decade old!


  1. Use I have been able to generate 30+ player games from scratch using meetup, plus it encourages people to have an online community and there are quite a few people on there these days. I swear by it and have used it for many other things than just laser tag.

  2. I wish I could join all of you, but I'm in Korea for the next year. I hope this continues so I can possibly attend one of games.