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Discussion: Tournament Prizes

Posted Discussion
June 26, 2018
5 posts
Tournament Prizes
Can we have a civil discussion about the prizes given away at SSUSA tournaments. I'm trying to be polite, but the prizes given out are outdated, cheap and likely won't ever be worn. The prizes are typically an 1980's style polyester warm-up jacket, velcro strap caps that look like something out of a truck stop or a thin v-neck t-shirt. We are paying between $500-700 for tournament entry fees, I would like to see nicer prizes. It appears now that you are buying the cheapest items on the internet or clearing out and old warehouse of items from 20-30 years ago. Maybe you just don't know that the prizes are bad. Really bad. Maybe you just don't care. My suggested solution would be to get batting gloves, small towels, fitted caps from Pacific headwear, custom jerseys, back packs or cloth bags are a few ideas. Take a look at the trailers selling gear at the tournaments. Those are 21St century modern items that players are interested in. I wouldn't purchase any of the merchandise that you are giving away as prizes. I am trying to provide constructive feedback and offered several solutions. Please consider making changes.
June 26, 2018
939 posts
Congrats on your first post, JT130.

The only SSUSA tournament that costs $700 to play is the World Masters Championships. That event gives away custom rings to each player, and individual awards for 2nd place finishers. In addition, there are awards for USA national champions and the runner-up. Triple Grand Slam winners also receive shoes for every player on the team. Multiply that by 28-30 divisions and you've got a pretty significant and desirable awards package.

TOC Qualifiers (generally $530 - $550) offer custom jerseys from Elite that feature your team name, team logo, team colors and player numbers. It can be further modified as desired. Second place teams get caps.

Local qualifiers hosted by individual contract directors typically cost less to enter and the prize packages vary.

In the last few events that I've hosted, winning teams have received custom tournament champion shirts featuring their name, etc. The shirts come in the color of the team's choosing. Second place received embroidered caps (Pacific 404M). Again- multiply 16 players x 6, 7, 8 divisions and it adds up.

I hear people question the awards somewhat regularly but I don't think that they understand the costs involved with putting on a tournament. Senior structures are different than a regular adult tournament.

Have a great day.
June 26, 2018
1 posts
the costs of a team entering these tourneys that sometimes are three days for less than 10 teams far exceeds the amount put into a decent prize package for the winning team and maybe even the second place team. Not every team is sponsored to validate entering a tourney at such a higher entry fee than normal tourneys and not have a good prize to play for other than a piece of paper that gives you option to come out of pocket for more money to buy a pendant or ring to remember that you even won that tourney. The experience of having won ssusa tourneys only to get nothing to proudly show off is reason we don't enter many of these tourneys in the end simply not worth it. Dragging these tourneys out and having to pay an extra day for fields for a less than ten tourney team could be a wasted expense that could be thrown towards a decent prize package. I see that Major plus has 2 teams for states yet have to play 2 days to get it done , that's crazy!
June 26, 2018
1 posts
I can tell you the hats they gave to the 1st and 2nd place team in Reno were "wall hangers" (meaning they will never be worn). But the dry fit T-Shirts they were selling would have made excellent prizes with Champions or Runner Ups added to them. T-Shirts have always been a badge of honor for softball players and winning an SSUSA tournament is something you want to display. SSSUSA should seriously consider this.
June 26, 2018
939 posts
1st place in Reno received Adidas pullovers before leaving the park. This year's "for sale" shirts were pretty popular.
June 26, 2018
Men's 70
4283 posts
Tim ... Looks like "Rookie League" had a message board homework assignment today! ... Three "rookie" posts right out of the box! ... And all wearing the uniform of the "anonymous keyboard courage cowboys" team ... Hilarious!
June 26, 2018
5 posts

The Prize packages you described I have never seen at Rock n Reno, NorCal States nor Western worlds. In addition the $575 entry fees, these tournaments are twice as expensive as USSSA, NSA & ASA tournaments. Also, the weekend local tournaments provide T-shirts which are nicer than the prizes I described earlier at Western Worlds, Rock N Reno & Nor Cal States. Please provide some numbers for these supposed costs to run a SSUSA Tournament. To start, I will break down the entry fees and costs posted on the Sparks website for rental fees of their complexes. For example let's use the Rock N Reno weekend 25-27 May 2018 numbers for examples.

Entry fee: $575 x

Men's 40: 26 teams
Men's 60: 29 teams
Women's 40: 9 teams
Women's 50: 7 teams
Women's 55: 3 teams
Women's 65: 4 teams
Total teams: 78 teams x $575=

$44,850 for entry Fees!

238 games played x $35/game (umpire) = $8330 umpire fees

10 fields x $100/day x 3 days =
$3000 field rental

$400 cleaning fee

$390 surcharge ($5/team x 78)

$25 admin fee

Entry fees collected: $44,850
Total complex feees $12,145
High end spent prizes $2,500
(And this is me being
Profit: $30,205

So tell me again why it costs so much to run a tournament and why the prize packages can't be better?


SSUSA is a nonprofit organization so you aren't paying taxes. How much are you paying for all the "tournament directors" (ie old guys sleeping in chairs)? Several somebodies are making quite a bit of profit on these tournaments and it isn't being spent on prize packages.

June 26, 2018
Men's 70
30 posts
JT130, My players would rather pay a lower entry fee and receive nothing for a championship, than higher fees for "21St century modern items" as you state. Any trinket given is appreciated, but the real award for victory is self satisfaction of knowing you're #1. Awards have a very short shelf life.
June 26, 2018
939 posts
You're on vacation Dave. I've got this one-

I'm stealing this line from a prior director but it certainly applies here. You nailed the multiplication portion of the exam but failed the subtraction portion.

SSUSA never would have cleared a $30,205 profit without these generous donations. Thanks to the following people:

Sparks, NV for donating 4 additional fields on Friday after the monsoon.

Sparks, NV for donating the use of Shadow Mountain park, the lights, the field prep, the labor and all of the field dry to get the fields ready for play.

Reno, NV for donating the use of Rancho San Rafael park, the field prep, the labor and all of the field dry to get the fields ready for play.

The tournament scheduler for working for free.
The tournament scheduler for working for free to re-schedule everything when Friday play was severely impacted by rain.

All 9 directors for working 4 days for free.
All 9 directors for paying their own airfare, rental car fee and hotel expenses.

All 30 umpires for paying their own travel and hotel expenses.

The Sands Hotel & Casino for donating meeting rooms and storage space.

Fed Ex Office for printing and copying all of the tournament paperwork at no cost.

Fed Ex Office for inbound / outbound shipment of tournament related equipment at no cost.

BSN for donating game balls to each of the 78 teams participating in Session 1 of the Rock & Reno tournament.

National Certified insurance for donating the coverage for this tournament.

The SSUSA office staff for donating their time leading up to the tournament handling the entries, rosters and other paperwork.

The SSUSA office staff for donating their time after the tournament to process the results, the rosters and other paperwork.

June 26, 2018
5 posts

I'm hearing a lot of donating and free on the expenses part. I'm not sure if you understand how having a debate works, but you are just strengthening my talking points about why the prize packages are not better for the entry fees we are paying and the expenses you didn't have.

9 directors! Are you kidding, you guys must be union employees. It looks really difficult to sit in those chairs all day and occasionally get up and walk around. Checking in teams looks exhausting, those highlighters must be heavy. Making/filling out brackets, writing down scores, advancing winning teams.

Someone has to do those things and I appreciate that it was done, but it certainly wasn't rocket surgery or an overwhelming brain tasking list of items to accomplish. There were phone calls and some coordination that took place.

You still didn't address why the tournament fees are so high and why the prize packages are so lacking.

June 27, 2018
549 posts
If the warehouse is being cleared out for prizes I would opt for the Orphan Annie Ovaltine Mug or the Sky King decoder ring!
June 27, 2018
Men's 55
259 posts
JT you have no idea what the cost of running tournaments are. I agree that the prizes should be a little better but to think they made $30,000.00 dollars is ludicrous. When you have directors that fly in WHO pays that airfare? Who pays for the rental cars? Who pays them for sitting at that table in 100 degree heat for 9-10 hours a day? Who pays for the diamond dry if it rains? Did they only make $1000.00 I doubt it. Would hope they made quite a few thousand. They will need it to pay for office rent at the national office. They have 8-9 employees WHO pays them. Who pays for the trips that the National office has to take to meet with these cities to talk them into hosting the tournaments. Who pays for all the shipping for the supplies that they need to run the tournaments. The balls and other paper work. When the tournament is not close they have to ship all the awards and stuff.
JT before you get all huffy make sure you know all the details.

What about the small 18-20 team tournament that they fly a director in and pay his rooms for 2-4 days.
YOU ask why 2-4 days? Well he has to get there the day before and sometime does not leave until the day after conclusion. They have to ship him the softballs and all awards. Just like any business the good days have to help pay for the bad days. SAME IN TOURNAMENTS>
June 27, 2018
Men's 55
19 posts
JT makes some good points, but as outlined there are some intangibles too. Both arguements on costs don't tell the whole story and I dont think it is unreasonable to give a players perception of how the juice doesn't seem to equal the squeeze.

Let's be real. Yes there are other costs not outlined, but JT did not mention team or player registration fees, money from advertisers and vendors, etc. Plus, SSUSA does there due diligence with sabermetrics and uses that info when planning tournaments in a community. I'm sure they layout how many players are spending money on Food, Fuel, Lodging, etc. and are being compensated in some sort of fashion. There are other tournament organizations that get paid to bring their events and crossover dollars to a city, U am sure SSUSA is no different.

SSUSA is a nonprofit and should be transparent or just give out better suited prizes to the 40s and 50s teams...

If you look at his original post, that is all he stated. His perception of this is shared amongst many players outside of this message board.
June 27, 2018
Men's 60
109 posts
Our team is still waiting for our Custom SSUSA shirts that we won in the Spring National this past spring. I'd also like to see the All Tournament team patches with the year you were selected included on the patch.
June 29, 2018
Men's 70
43 posts
My understanding is the town where tournaments are held pay a substantial amount to ssusa is this not true?
June 29, 2018
Men's 70
2402 posts
Maybe I am just different about this, but I have never played for the prizes to be given away. Playing, competition, winning, and camaraderie are the most important. I probably have 500 shirts-25 jackets (which I don't need living in Tucson now), a couple bat bags, 500 hats, and 3 sets of senior depends with a cup holder. What more do I need in prizes? I appreciate the chance to play big tournaments.
June 30, 2018
20 posts
What ever happened to playing the game for the love of the game. Who cares about prizes and what they make on a tournament they run it make money so what that's their job all I want to do is play. If you don't like it play somewhere else they are not making you play in there tournaments. Do you go to work and tell the people that run the company they made to much money this month so I need a bigger paycheck. I have a idea everyone that plays in a tournament will get a participation trophy just like LITTLE LEAGUE, then everyone will be happy. Look at are age we should all be happy that we can still play the game that we love I know I am with or without prizes.
July 1, 2018
Men's 55
149 posts
My personal opinion- It's fun to win stuff, but most of the stuff I have won (warm up shirts, bat bags, etc) stay in my closet or have been given to others. I am very particular with what I roll with (bat bag I use, clothes I wear, etc) and I like picking out and buying what I use versus getting something after winning that I will never pull out of the cheap plastic it came in. Especially the hats.... For the love of all that is holy, please no more ill-fitting hats!!

I would much rather have the money spent on these things applied to other things to make the tournament experience better (scoring system for in-tournament online scoring updates, water in dug outs, tournament bracket boards, actually using scoreboards when available or manual ones so spectators know the score of the game, etc). Pour the money back into the tournament somehow to make the player/spectator experience better.

Winning a tournament is enough of a reward for me. Keep your too-small-for-my-massive dome hats and warm up jacket. It's 107 today in the shade in Vegas, I ain't wearing it.
July 2, 2018
Men's 70
1243 posts
Hoader25, I mean Webbie. How much of that stuff still fits? Ever heard of donation.

I will never forget I was at a open market in Kansas City and saw a jacket I had won with the 463MPs when I was in the army. I went up to the guy and introduced myself. I told him I was sorry, but I did not recognize him from the team. He said he found the jacket in the trunk of a car he had bought for scrap. As it turns out, it was my jacket that must have been in the car that had been totaled in a wreck in Joplin Mo. Driving rain storm and somebody missed the curve and pancaked my parked car.

Over the course of the years, I have coached numerous youth teams. I took all of my trophies had them re-plated and gave them out as individual awards. Kids and parents thought it was neat their kid got a participation medal from LL, but their coach gave them an individual award. Some of those were pretty big, the uniqueness of each award made it special. One even said Best Bubblegum Blower. Kid thought it was cool.

105 days till first retirement and move to Prescott Valley!!!!!!

Mike Adair
July 3, 2018
Men's 70
2402 posts
Hi Mike-hope to see you in San Clemente this weekend! I have already donated over 300 old trophies and a lot of the shirts to boys clubs and goodwill. Many are reminders of tournaments and a lot are too small-lol.They must have shrunk.....
July 3, 2018
77 posts
If someone has a bunch of 2017 Atlanta Falcon Superbowl championship gear they are donating to El Salvador or some other g-d forsaken place I have a spiffy 2016 Crabtown championship red hat with a crab on it that would match the shirts perfectly. I'm willing to give up that booty even though the memento is priceless...
July 3, 2018
117 posts
They need enough tournament directors to cover all the fields. Some locations require two because of the amount of team playing at that location or the distance between fields. Each field usually has a UIC (umpire in chief). These individuals are there to settle roster disputes and protests if they occur. They don't have time to send for director from an another location for these incidents. I am glad they are there because it makes things go a lot smoother.
July 3, 2018
7 posts
Sounds like no one really cares for more crap, even 21st century crap. Why not the winning teams getting cash prizes.
July 3, 2018
Men's 70
159 posts
I donate all of my old shirts, hats, etc to the local VA home. Nothing like going back & seeing several "old" guys walking in tournament softball shirts!

for the comment about TD's sitting around doing nothing but walk around every once in a while, please come join us at a tournament. You can get to the park 1st, usually before 630AM to get prime parking. Oh, that's after you stop to pickup ice for the coolers, that you have to fill & place around each field, then you have to re-fill them several times a day! A lot of times you are there until 10PM or later! But, because we have to sit to record scores, finish the seeding while 20 managers are standing are asking when they play or trying to post the seeding but you can't get thru to the board because the managers have already figured out the seeds, I guess we do sit sometimes! We also get to settle rule questions, arguments, being cussed at, or dirt kicked on you, etc. Fun!

But in spite of the long hours, etc, I do it because I enjoy the game, playing & being a TD!

Please, if you would like to join the TD group, I'm sure Fran would love to hear from you.


Win Downing,
Mgr Game On 70's & TD
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