Pinball machines have been around since the 1930s reaching their greatest popularity in the ’80s and ’90s but interest lagged in the early 2000s after those heights. You’ve probably seen the many stories over the last couple of years regarding the resurgence of the game. Pinball continues to be red hot. The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) keeps track of tournaments around the world reporting attendance at events rising from 12,527 in 2009 to 133,767 in 2018. They also have more than 73,000 players registered on their website.
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 featuring 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 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. In some
instances, owners can operate a pinball machine for a year or more and sell
that machine for as much or more than they originally paid for it.
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, which works in partnership with the IFPA to help create more tournaments and leagues at public locations. Since its inception back 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 voices of the Stern pinball brand
Get Stern pinball games into more locations
While most Stern Army locations are at bar arcades and other
standard locations, the Stern Army has been invading Family Entertainment
Centers as well 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.
Here’s how hosting one can help benefit your location:
Even if guests show up solely for the pinball tournaments, players and spectators will build up an appetite over the course of 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 will 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.
Along with the pictures and posts that will pop up around
tournaments, traffic and followers will increase especially if you are active
with your location’s social media accounts. Create events and invite locals to
check out and participate or just 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
If the event is big enough, you may even find local TV and
radio stations reporting on the event and more importantly getting the 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 on the planet. Its global
lifestyle brand is based on the iconic and outrageously fun modern American
game of pinball.
With new and exciting titles coming out every year, your pinball machines will never feel old and stale. Check out the latest spooky title just in time for Halloween – Elvira’s House of Horrors (sold in LE, Premium, and Signature) or the thrilling & adventurous Jurassic Park 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’s 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.
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.
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