A decision has been made to increase LAN-slide's entry fee by $5.00 to $30.00. This decision was not taken lightly and has been put on hold for a number of years despite the continued increases in running costs on our events.
We understand that this news will be disappointing to some attendees who are already struggling to afford the $25.00 entry fee and also to those who struggle to find the value at $30.00. We've put together a list of points in an attempt to both explain how LAN-slide is funded and why the increase has been deemed necessary.
Funding for events comes directly from two sources.
Entry Fees: between $5,000 and $6,000 fluctuates depending on how many of the 276 seats sell.
Sponsorship: between $8,000 and $12,000 fluctuates depending on availability for prizes and services.
LAN-slide Event Coordinators jointly contribute between $3,000 and $4,000 up front to fund an event. They carry all of the risk with zero gain. In the unlikely situation where we had to cancel an event, LAN-slide Event Coordinators would be out of pocket after players are refunded.
A loose breakdown per event is listed below
Any remaining revenue is spent procuring new and replacing existing assets (see below for a breakdown).
Absolutely ZERO 'profit' is distributed to the benefit of volunteers or members. Furthermore, our incorporation on May 4th 2017 cemented this in our constitution and strictly prohibits any member making a financial gain under "LAN-SLIDE INC." (A0099309Y) and the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.
Currently, LAN-slide Event Coordinators have to pre-pay for any upfront expenses (around $4,000 per event) and are reimbursed on presentation of a receipt post-event. Notably, the two co-founders of LAN-slide jointly loaned around $10,000 initially to fund assets such as tables, power, network, servers, routers among other things. At the start of 2017, those members wrote off any remaining debt owed giving LAN-slide a clean slate financially and enabled incorporation to be possible.
Being a not-for-profit organisation means the members themselves cannot be beneficiaries of any assets (which includes money). Any profit made from revenue is used to support our goals which primarily is to organise "bring your own computer" LAN parties.
This means any profit left over will be allocated to continue funding our event. In addition, our wind-up clauses in our constitution mean that any assets must be donated to another similar incorporated association meaning (in layman terms) the team and members cannot just take stuff that LAN-slide owns.
An extra $5.00 per person generates us an additional $1,000 to $1,300 income which will help offset the significant cost increases caused by our Venue, Vehicle and Power Equipment Hire and Insurance. items alone.
We have a 'shopping list' of around $8,000 that has continually increased well beyond event profit due to assets becoming end of life. These assets include tables damaged beyond repair and a further 50 tables to purchase (we currently borrow the difference from multiple sources), row kits with damaged power equipment and network clips missing, our router is running as a single point of failure on 10-year-old hardware with a cold swap virtual redundancy solution.
Finally, and still an important point - LAN-slide needs to eventually fund itself and not rely on Event Coordinators pre-paying and taking on an unacceptable financial risk. In doing so, we can expand the Event Coordinator team to those where a financial risk is not required and open up an avenue to increase size (which will come at a substantially increased cost).
To explain this in layman terms - when we began running LAN-slide, our upfront operating costs were around $1,000. If we had to cancel an event and lose this amount, it wasn't a huge personal crisis or financial loss for the co-founders. Increasing that now to $4,000 is significant in comparison, and only gets worse if we tried to expand at a new venue for 350-400 attendees (i.e. well over $10,000). If we had to cancel an event, we lose that hit personally. This is an absolutely unfair outcome - especially given the benefit our team members receive - at best - is their money back (no interest, no incentive).
When we increased our total number of seats from 196 to 276, costs exponentially increased (around $1,500) beyond what we additionally receive through revenue (between $1,000 and $1,500).
We required a larger generator (+$250), hiring of the side room (+$500), a suitable insurance policy (+$400 per event), a truck to help transport our gear from our storage locker (+$350) in addition to general inflation.
Our $25.00 fee represents one of the cheapest LAN parties in Australia. We achieved this through sacrificing volunteer hours and personal finances to keep costs down. This means we have people donating extensive (and in some cases excessive) amounts of time to tag and test power, do the shopping for food and drinks, crimp and replace cable ends that are broken, plan and install long range point to point wireless internet solutions, use their towing vehicles to move hired generators and run our rubbish to the tip, we purchase and donate hardware that we don't get reimbursed for and others put in hours so we get favourable (and sometimes even free) services. We even structure our hire period so that we fit inside of a 24-hour period to avoid doubling our charge.
It's fair to say that we have exhausted every minor, mid and major cost to keep the entry fee as cheap as it has been for the last six years and we will continue to find efficiencies where possible. However, as the team ages more and have Monday to Friday jobs, reliance on volunteer hours will be reviewed and adjusted. Under our current fee structure, if we lost the person who gets and drops off our generator - we would be up for an additional $400 to have the equipment dropped off and picked up by the company.
There won't be any immediate direct benefits such as a longer duration or better prizes. These would simply negate the reasons for requiring the increase in the first place.
However, what you will see is an event that continues to replace gear when it's broken, continues to upgrade our internet situation where feasible and continues to improve on all that we have to offer. You should also see an event that becomes more independent and community owned as the personal financial liability barrier to join the team will be lessened.
While we cannot make any guarantees, we see the $30.00 fee adequately suitable to cover all of the equipment we need to replace with a buffer to purchase new equipment and withstand more CPI-style increases. While we remain at Aspendale Gardens running a similar style of event, we do not see the need to increase beyond $30.00 at this stage.
For those observant participants among you, LAN-slide will hit a crossroads in the coming events as to whether we begin finding a larger venue or find a way to cap the number of attendees we have. If we begin searching for a new venue, the default position will be finding somewhere that a $30.00 entry fee could be feasible.
The event has barely been viable to proceed at $25.00 for the last 12 months. While a small profit was made last event (around $550), if we had a normal event (say, 210 players), we would have been in the negative. Not by a crippling margin, but enough to require a substantial injection by the event coordinator team to prop up.
As mentioned earlier, with a $8,000 shopping list that continues to grow (in projected upgrades for the next 2 years), a $500 profit doesn't stretch very far running 3-4 events a year.
Absolutely! Feel free to use the Contact Us page, or if you see us on Discord - feel free to have a chat there.