Tournament Prize Funds (con’t) – by James Goulding III

Tournament Prize Funds (con’t)

by James Goulding III

I have examined what David posted about tournament prized funds, and understand completely where he is coming from, but let me put my spin on the situation, and show how a competitive balance can be achieved with the correct type of tournament prize list scalars.  This achieves decent payouts for the top position(s), while allowing for a good balance of cash flow from top to bottom.

Here is a tournament prize list I have come up with based on David’s criteria from his post talking about tournament prize lists, and the mock list he proved, which was 1:10 payout, 100 entries, and a 1,500 prize fund:

1st          $ 270    (18%)

2nd        $ 240    (16%)

3rd        $ 195     (13%)

4th        $ 180     (12%)

5th        $ 150     (10%)

6th        $ 135     ( 9%)

7th        $ 105     ( 7%)

8th        $  90      ( 6%)

9th        $  75      ( 5%)

10th     $  60      ( 4%)

I feel that this type of scaling for a prize list of 100 bowlers works well for this type of tournament payout.  Here is  my other sample prize list showing percentage of payout using those same scalars (1 in 10 payout) for a tournament of up to 205 entries:

1st              13%

2nd             10%

3rd               9%

4th               8%

5th               6%

6th               5%

7th               5%

8th               5%

9th               5%

10th            4%         

11th            4%

12th            4%

13th            4%

14th           3%

15th           3%

16th           3%

17th           3%

18th           3%

19th           2%

20th           2%

I feel that you can achieve a competitive balance of giving the top bowler(s) a decent payout for their hard work, while still rewarding those who have earned the right to cash in a tournament.  Of course, the biggest thing that many tournament officials need to remember is, always adjust your figures based upon the number of entries you anticipate in your tournament. 

For example, you can’t expect to pay the same amount to first place in a tournament if you are paying 1 in 10 as compared to 1 in 5 entries.  You have to scale the tournament payout according to what you think you will get for entries, which can usually be done by looking at the entries you have had in the past five years.  If your tournament usually gets 100 entries, paying out 1 in 5 dilutes it out to 20 spots, making it almost not worth bowling due to the lower percentage payout per spot.  But, if you go to a 1 in 10 payout, the bowlers who place (while there are fewer of them) will actually be able to make money, and want to come back next year.  There is no incentive to bowl a tournament where you cash in the top 5, and barely break even.

Here is how I look at payouts, and how tournaments can break them down fairly for bowlers across the board:


Up to 38 entries:                1 in 4 payout

39 to 80 entries:                 1 in 5 payout

81 to 200 (+) entries:       1 in 10 payout

This type of scaling based upon tournament entries ensures competitive balance, as well as fair amounts of cash distribution to the bowlers who patronize the tournament year in and year out.  Please feel free to comment on anything I have written, and I hope that some of the tournament directors look at the scalars I have provided and use that information for future payouts in Maine based tournaments, and abroad.  Thank you.

-James Goulding III

2 responses to “Tournament Prize Funds (con’t) – by James Goulding III

  1. James,
    I agree that prize lists should be better balanced. I think they have been too top heavy. Top heavy prize lists deter lower average bowlers from participating in tournaments. The better we can balance the prize list, the better chance we have of enticing all bowlers to participate. I would forward this to Fred Gordon and Joe Mizda for discussion by the State board.

  2. James,

    It’s always been a tough situation to determine a fair and adequate tournament payout from top to bottom. Similar to how leagues determine a prize fund during the season, a majority of the bowlers want to feel like they get a little something for their efforts rather than rewarding the top bowlers for winning the league.

    Where I’ve had a problem lately is the double whammy of paying out well for the top 2-3 positions and then weighing the pay out on a 70/30 basis for handicap bowlers versus scratch bowlers. In a tournament where you can bowl more than one time to cash, who do you think is bowling multiple times: the handicap bowler or the scratch bowler?

    Keep up the great work.


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