The key to running a successful event is a balance of fun, healthy competition, lots of organization/preparation, good customer service, honesty/transparency/trust, and bracketology 101.

Fun: why do people play beer pong? how did they start playing beer pong? where did it originate? pong started in a frat basement. It is a simple game and easy to setup, creates just the right amount of competition to make it enjoyable, and gets people drunk. The last part, we can't do much about since we must play with water to keep things safe and avoid liabilities since we run legitimate businesses, but the rest can be created in a safe atmosphere: music, good drink specials, excitement, location (although not always the most important thing but you want to have events in central locations to attract the largest turnout - it is more important to make the place accessible than to make it a destination location (Vegas, AC, etc)), and community. The community aspect is the biggest and most important aspect. People have made so many friends through the pong community that a lot of them attend the regional events just to see the friends they have made even if they don't even play regularly anymore. It is a social experience for them. If you make it fun, your chances of having a successful event will greatly increase.

Healthy Competition: Pong isn't big enough to have different levels of competition like baseball and other organized sports have (little league, high school, minor leagues, major leagues)... With pong, it can be a bit intimidating when new players come in and play against people who are shooting 80%+. It wasn't always this competitive but with higher payouts of tournaments, people started taking it more seriously and now it is more and more difficult for newbies to come in and be competitive... The top players will always bitch but sometimes restrictions are important to promote healthy competition because people need to still feel that they have a chance of winning in order for them to feel it worthwhile to play. If they know they could never win, you will lose out on a lot of players. Prizes for best coed, best all-girl, best rookie team, etc can greatly help get other people to come out and compete. Having multiple side events also helps create variety for players to play with different people, and also give them multiple chances to feel like a winner. Everyone wants to win. Cash prizes aren't always everyone's biggest concern either - trophies can put a smile on a person's face too. In little league everyone received trophies because it made them feel like winners and people need those confidence boosts, no matter how old we get.

Organization/Preparation: You cannot through a successful event together in a weekend. It literally takes months to put together a successful event. I have run large events with 2 months notice and they were not successful. You have to go in knowing that you could lose money. Even if you think you have sponsors who are going to put up prize money, unless you already have that money in hand, don't count on it... Use history as a lesson that you should always prepare for the worse. You are also dealing with drunk people so plan accordingly with that. Make sure to have a security plan, get event/liability insurance, and protect yourself legally. Anything could happen at one of these events. Pong players are lazy so set payment deadlines early enough in advance to leave yourself wiggle room. Don't ever wait until the last minute. Get players to sign waivers but understand that waivers don't mean everything. Use scorecards for each game in case of discrepancies, and use tournament software that can help you run a smooth event. Plan out every second of the event. Try to keep the flow of the event to a schedule. You don't want to keep people waiting for too long between games and you don't want to allow people to wander too far away to the point that they don't show up for their games and you get behind on the schedule. It is ok to break up events (prelims on one day, finals on another day) as with people drinking all day, they get sloppy and forget to show up for games and the length of games always increase as the day goes on. Know that and plan accordingly. 

Good Customer Service: Be active in the pong community and make yourself available for questions and information. It will build trust with your players and make them happy. This may be the biggest difference between good organizers and average organizers. 

Honesty/Transparency/Trust: You don't have to guarantee prize payouts but be transparent if you are not guaranteeing it because some people will be traveling long and far to get to your events and it isn't fair to them to travel 3000 miles for an event that they thought had a guaranteed payout to find out that only half of what was advertised was being payout.  It is ok to advertise a minimum guaranteed amount with a + sign to let people know that the  prize amount can go up but provide the breakdown of how many teams you need signed up to offer the higher payouts.  And don't include sponsorship money or money the venue is promising to put up in the payout unless you have their money in hand already.  If you make a guaranteed payout, you are assuming full risk and need to know that even if your sponsors pull out the day of the event, you still have to pay out what you advertised...  It is part of the risk of running the event and you shouldn't run the event if you cannot take this risk.  It will build trust with your customers if you pay out what you advertise.   Reputation is everything in this industry and if you ruin your reputation, there is no coming back from it.  One poor  event could ruin it for you.  Be careful when you advertise payouts because once it is posted publicly, it is set in stone... if you think you may have to pay out less, then don't advertise a higher amount from the beginning.  Post the smaller amount - you can always increase it.  If you decrease a prize amount, you will lose trust in the players.   Some of them will be paying a lot of money to attend the event and they should have confidence that when they purchase their plane tickets that the prize amounts they saw advertised are guaranteed and will be paid out.  Don't advertise an exact money amount at all if it isn't guaranteed.  Saying it is a $5,000 tournament but in the fine print below, that it is dependent on having at least 50 teams, is false advertising because pong players don't always read the fine print.  Don't advertise a prize amount that isn't guaranteed. Bottomline.  If $2,000 is all that is guaranteed, advertise it as $2,000+.  It is better to gain the trust of your players and they will be more pleasantly surprised if you end up paying more than if you end up not paying out what you said you will.   The players don't always care about the prize amount (at least not the ones already part of the pong community), a lot of them care more about the fun aspect of the event and seeing their friends.  The top players are probably the only ones that care about the prize amount and you can't always please those people.  You need to focus on the 97% of the players who don't win tournaments as you cannot run a successful event without them attending too.  Listen to them.  Listen to your customers.  Hear what they want.   Not just the top players but the average players.  Have side events that appeal to the average players and that create fun.

Bracketology 101: Know how to run a tournament.  Know how the bracket works.  In a double elimination tournament, there are more rounds of games in the losers bracket than there are in the winners bracket.  Don't play all the winners bracket games before you play the losers bracket games because then players in the winners bracket could be waiting even longer between their games.  For every winners bracket round, two losers bracket rounds need to take place to keep a healthy flow of the tournament.  Get the teams in the losers bracket out to thin out the tournament and make it easier to manage.  Make sure to use software that allows you to keep track of who is playing on what tables and what tables are open.  Use a paper bracket to allow players to track the progress of the tournament without having to ask you where in the tournament you are.  Use the paper bracket in addition to your software, not as a replacement.  A good flow for a tournament makes for a good event.  Have a lot of extra cups and balls and racks because you do not want to run out of equipment.


That is all I have for now.  I hope all of this can help you to run a successful event.  Let me know if you have any other questions and I wish you the best of luck with the event.