A number of the 2020 changes are related to the belief that it makes more sense to focus on fewer things and do them better.
In 2019, we counted cumulative points toward a team’s seeding. This meant that if you went to a ton of events and did okay, you might be seeded higher than a team that went to a few events and performed really well. We want to value performance over participation. In 2020, only a team’s top 5 points will count toward their seeding. This change creates a more even playing field for good teams who can’t travel as much.
In fact, we actually don’t want the top teams to have to travel as much to be competitive. We know traveling is expensive. There’s just no way around it. However, by making some changes to the tournament structure we can lower the barrier to becoming a top tier team. That’s the same thought process behind consolidating resources into Grand Slams.
We want to attract top teams to specific events. By providing more points, better competition, and increased prize money we hope to differentiate Grand Slams from Tour Stops. Consolidating resources offers better returns for players because they can compete for more without having to incur as much expense.
The format of the Pro Division at Grand Slams has also been changed to better represent what we think will help grow the sport. Established teams competing against each other create better narratives and promote an engaged fanbase. So, this year points earned as team will count toward Pro Seeding. Doing this better aligns the Pro Division at Grand Slams with Nationals. We also recognize the need to allow upward mobility of teams on the rise. To address this, we’ve made the number of Pro bids at Grand Slams adaptive to the number of teams competing.
We’ve also bolstered the strength multiplier so that it is more responsive (both positively and negatively). Now the number of points you can earn from a tournament will more closely reflect the quality of competition. Additionally, we’ve shifted the strength multiplier to look at only the top 5 finishes. This change helps correct the imbalance that can occur in the strength multiplier when one team has a majority of the total points.
With a better strength multiplier it means we can count points from select Recognized Roundnet Organization events without as much risk of awarding unmerited points. We’re continuing to use Bonus Tour Stops and choosing select RRO events to earn points. We think supporting independent organizers creates greater accessibility, encourages innovation, and bolsters local roundnet communities. For this reason, we're made changes to help boost independent events and make them more official.
All in all, these updates are an effort to create a more equitable system with a lower barrier to entry and a higher ceiling. Each year we listen to feedback, debate, and make changes that we think will help the sport continue to grow. Like anything new, we know there will be some kinks to work out along the way and appreciate your support and patience as we do so. Spike on!