January 18, 2023

Why and How to Host a Stern Army Event

4 Minute Read

Pinball machines have been around since the 1930s, reaching their greatest popularity in the ’80s and ’90s; interest lagged in the early 2000s after those heights. You’ve probably seen many stories about the game’s resurgence over the last few years. Pinball continues to be red hot. The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) keeps track of tournaments worldwide. The total number of IFPA-sanctioned events for 2022 was 8.366, with total player attendance at those events being 188,308, up 8% from 2019. In addition, the number of unique players that played in an IFPA-sanctioned tournament during 2022 was 24,772, up 1.5% from the number of active players in 2019. They also have more than 73,000 players registered on their website.

Stern Army at Location

While the object of every pinball machine is the same – score the highest points and keep the ball rolling for as long as possible, every cabinet is unique. Each one features different graphics, twists, and turns based on the theme – whether it’s your favorite movie, TV show, or band.

Adding pinball machines to your location is a sound decision because of the popularity and great titles now available. One of the things you might not be thinking about is how you can tap into that passion with the help of the largest manufacturer in the business and advocate for the game. Pinball machines hold their value better than any other arcade equipment. Sometimes, owners can operate a pinball machine for a year or more and sell it for as much or more than they originally paid.

Passionate Pinball Players

Stern Pinball has a passionate and loyal fan base willing to visit locations to try out the latest titles or participate in tournaments. They’ve created the Stern Army, the official street team and brand ambassadors of Stern Pinball. It works in partnership with the IFPA to help generate more tournaments and leagues at public locations. Since its inception in late 2016, the Stern Army has grown to almost 200 locations worldwide, with further expansion ongoing.

The Stern Army Mission:

  • Get more people playing in leagues & tournaments at locations
  • Expand the player community through events
  • Be the voice of the Stern pinball brand
  • Get Stern pinball games into more locations

While most Stern Army locations are at bar arcades and other standard sites, the Stern Army has been invading Family Entertainment Centers and shows no sign of slowing down. An FEC in Tempe, AZ, has over 50 players in their Tuesday night leagues and has seen a significant increase in food & beverage sales for their weekly pinball events while exposing pinball to an entirely new audience.

Hosting a Stern Army event is a great way to draw a crowd to your location, and with the Stern Army behind you, the process won’t be overwhelming.

Stern Army at a Location

Here’s how hosting one can help benefit your location:

Increase Sales

Even if guests show up solely for the pinball tournaments, players and spectators will build an appetite throughout the event. Watch as food and beverage sales increase with each tournament.

Create a Sense of Community

Watch as your regulars increase with each tournament. Whether you host weekly or monthly, players invite friends and family to root them on while making new friends and acquaintances. Your spot will soon be the regular hang-out in town.

Gain Recognition

Along with the pictures and posts that will pop up around tournaments, traffic and followers will increase significantly if you are active with your location’s social media accounts. Create events and invite locals to attend or watch the exciting events.

Earn recognition on pinball and gaming sites and add your location to the official IFPA Tournament Calendar – where pinball enthusiasts can check out local tournaments.

If the event is big enough, you may even find local TV and radio stations reporting on the event and, more importantly, getting free advertising to your area.

Before You Call in the Stern Army, Make Sure You Have the Latest Stern Pinball Machines

Stern Pinball is the oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of arcade-quality pinball games. Its global lifestyle brand is based on the iconic and entertaining modern American pinball game.

Your pinball machines will never feel old and stale, with new and exciting titles every year. Check out the latest titles like James Bond 007 (sold in Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition) or the adventurous The Mandalorian Pinball (available in Pro, Premium, and LE).

From major movies like Star Wars and Deadpool to classic TV shows like The Munsters to rockin’ pinball machines featuring AC/DC, Aerosmith, and more – there are plenty of pinball machines for players to love. You’ll need at least 3 Stern Pinball machines to qualify for a Stern Army event; check out the different types here.

All Set? Here’s How to Join the Stern Army

Ready to increase your location’s fun, revenue, and foot traffic? Contact the Stern Army.

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James Liess

James Liess leads marketing and communications for Betson Enterprises, focused on working with manufacturing partners to grow awareness of products and services. He has more than 15 years of experience working with global brands in the sports and entertainment industry.