This week I started the 5th season of a league I run at a barcade where I operate the pinball machines. They run 6-8 weeks, with a few week break in between. I started in January 2015.
Season 1: 15 players
Season 2: 14 players (4 new, 10 returning)
Season 3: 14 players (3 new, 11 returning)
Season 4: 14 players (6 new, 8 returning)
Season 5: 24 players (13 new, 11 returning)
All of my outreach was the same (email, Facebook, flyers on the wall, and in person). Season 5 was the same cost ($25, all to the prizepool), but I added: "$30 in free pinball for new players".
I've had PayRange set up on all the machines since December, but had not yet used it for promotions or special offers. For this league season, I created a Free Vend Offer that gives 40 free plays (my pins are mostly 75 cents per play, with a few at 50 cents). That generated a handful of codes, which I brought with me on a piece of paper to the first league night.
I had the new players download the PayRange app, then gave a unique code to each player. They enter it into the app and viola - free pinball for newbies! I had no idea this would go over as well as it did. Would love to hear what others have done to grow the size of their league.