Here Ye and Hearken, ye old tournaments have been around for many ages. From the Greek Olympiad to Medieval jousting to national spelling bees, gathering people together for a group competition is as old as written history.
Nowadays, many tournaments have gone digital in their creation, management, and even play through organized eSports/gaming competitions. Fans of poker, March Madness, and college and professional sports playoffs often organize digital tournaments.
For those inspired to have a tournament but not as motivated to print out reams of brackets, there are many digital solutions online and in-app to create and manage your tournaments.
So, what the heck is a tournament maker?
What is a Tournament Maker?
A tournament maker is a creative solution to manage and design tournaments of all shapes and sorts. They range from well-developed Android and Apple iStore apps to text-based web apps to website plugins and even downloadable PDFs. Tournament makers are a great way to organize and keep track of any multi-participant competition you may want to put on.
The structure and design of tournament makers are wide-ranging, but most can create commonly used competition styles. Features include bracket creation, results, community chat groups, and even APIs to track participant data and league performance. These tools also make sharing the league with its participants much more comfortable, such as through direct communication in a singular, organized space.
The next question is, how do you go about choosing the right maker for you? There are a few parameters you should know.
How to Choose a Tournament Maker
First, you need to figure out what kind of maker you need for your uses. Do you need something only to create simple brackets and manage results or something more hands-on? Are you looking for one that offers participants a way to connect and engage? Or something that can calculate advanced statistics?
Your choice in tournament maker should also reflect the preferred platforms of your participants. The last thing you want is a beautiful tournament platform no one in the group can use.
Depending on the number of participants, some tools will be more relevant than others. Some makers are limited to specific sports or activities, while others are much broader. Do you need email or plugin support? Do you need brackets embeddable in a website or just printed out? What about layout and management capabilities? These are just some of the questions to ask yourself.
With these parameters in mind, it’s time to dive into the wide variety of options available to create your perfect tournament.
The 20 Best Tournament Maker Examples
PrintYourBrackets offers a simple, web-based tournament bracket creator . The tool supports up to 64 teams in a tournament format, in both blind draw and seeded formats.
A drawback is the simplistic nature of the interface and design, with stylized, larger brackets only available for purchase through their store.
Price: Bracket creation is free, but the store has numerous large printable premium bracket and tournament formats for sale.
2. Common Ninja
Common Ninja offers a wealth of plugins to create any form of eye-catching tables. It has a specific Tournament plugin, which supports single/double-elimination, and round-robin tournaments. There’s also a unique style designed especially for March Madness.
There are many themes and styles available to create custom brackets down to the fonts, images, and sizes. You can also host and run your tournament on their servers while embedding it onto your website using a one-line code. It’s easy to share the tournament on social media and export your brackets in PNG or PDF format with just a click.
Common Ninja also offers white-label bracket tournaments to help you engage with users and even drive site traffic.
Common Ninja includes built-in email address collection along with other analytics and performance tools. It’s compatible with practically any platform and site builder, and the plugin is auto-updating every time you make a change.
Price: Common Ninja offers a free plan and begins at $5.59/month for the basic paid plan.
League Lobster is an attractive solution for tournament creation and management. It’s suited for sports administrators and organizers. The tool offers league scheduling, tournament generation, and calendar management in a simple platform. The tournament maker includes support for round-robin, single, and double elimination playoffs.
One downside is the inability to block off specific days when no games are played. The manual nature of scheduling for coaches in multiple leagues can also get tedious and very confusing.
Price: There’s a free version, and you can get a free trial of the paid version that costs $9.95/month.
Microsoft offers its tournament maker directly from the App Store. Universal Tournament Maker is a free and easy-to-use Windows app that allows users to create tournaments for sports leagues and other competitions. These include football, chess, and TV games.
Universal Tournament Maker supports round-robin, bracket, and rating tournaments, with a maximum of 20 teams participating. It also features web page creation for tournaments, plus a simple graph table and bracket structure to track games’ progress.
On the downside, the app lacks any real social sharing capabilities, and the tournament and team creation process is missing a great deal of detail.
Random Result offers randomized results for several different chance formats, including gambling, coins, dice, and tournaments. This tool can create completely randomized tournament results with a touch of a button.
The main drawbacks of Random Result are the too-simple text-based product it creates and its inability to design, print out, or export brackets.
Anero’s Knockout Tournament Generator offers a web and text-based, easy-to-use tournament creator. There is no limit to the number of participants you can create. It allows for single elimination tournaments to be drawn up, including shuffling and doubles.
Unfortunately, the Knockout Tournament Generator can’t create any tournament styles beyond the single-elimination model. You can’t share created brackets, nor can you style the bracket according to a particular sport or activity.
Battlefy is an eSports/Gaming platform that allows the creation and management of tournaments for over 40,000 titles. These events can be as simple as a one-off or as complex as a multi-tier, multi-week event.
Battlefy’s real shortcoming is its scope. It lacks support for any other tournament type outside of eSports. There were also instances of incorrectly reported scores, resulting in the organizer needing to approach the admins directly to solve the issue.
Price: The app is free, but individual cosmetic add-ons cost coins, which begin at $4.99 for 650 units.
Available on both Android and Apple, you can manage everything on the app: tournaments, leagues, schedules, payments, player registrations, team management, and more.
The platform does fall short with an odd loophole: making it too easy for players to stay involved in tournaments via email. The app actually works better if all teams and players use it to share information.
Price: Includes 14-day trial and starts at $49/month.
Playpass offers a free schedule maker for tournaments and a responsive app that works on phones, tablets, and computers.
The app falls short of offering a wider variety of tournament styles and planning for events outside of classic sports. Also, public schedules functionality only comes with the tool’s paid version.
Price: Playpass includes a seven-day trial and starts at $10/month for the Basic plan.
InstantLIGA is an Android and Apple-based tournament maker that offers creation, planning, and management of a wide variety of sports tournaments.
The tournament maker auto-generates schedules for leagues, and creates knockouts and round-robin tournaments.
Though the app is very easy-to-use, it cannot create tournaments nor share tournaments on social media. There is also no website creation to share features with anyone who is not on the app.
Bracketz is a web-based tournament bracket creator especially designed for integration into your website. It offers a bracket template that is visually attractive and interactive, with support for single elimination or playoff trees.
This platform’s major drawback is that it’s little more than a visually-engaging tournament bracket creator, with minimal customizability or management capabilities.
Price: Begins at a $13 flat fee for the regular license.
If you’re looking for an easy way to integrate a tournament bracket into your website, the Tournament Bracket Generator is a simple, available option.
There are a few critical drawbacks to this plugin, namely that it lacks management capabilities. It cannot be shared beyond your website, as there is no downloadable format or email support.
The MultiSport platform is a do-it-all WordPress plugin for sports and eSports management. It includes over 90 different add-ons and shortcodes to refine your experience to an exact fit.
The real drawback to this suite is the lack of ability to create tournaments outside the sporting realm. Though you can add your own sports games, you are still limited to that specific genre, so office events or other activities and hobbies are out.
Price: The price for a regular license for one user is a flat fee of $29.
Toornament is an eSports-focused tournament creator and manager for all games on PC, console, or mobile platforms. It includes the ability to organize maps, game modes, and even characters.
Tournaments can host up to 4096 participants and include support for many styles, including round-robin, GSL, Swiss System, and more.
Where the platform falls short is the lack of support for non-eSports tournaments or contests. The entire platform is geared towards gaming groups.
WP League Fixture is a WordPress plugin explicitly aimed at creating football league round-robin tournaments. Tournaments are customizable to last multiple seasons, including results, scores, points, and frontend design options.
Though the plugin is excellent for football tournaments, it lacks features to host and organize a sports tournament or any tournament besides football. There are also no features to allow players in the league to connect or interact beyond seeing results on your website.
Price: The regular license starts at a $20 flat fee.
Office Pool Stop is a tool to create office tournaments and contests to run brackets online. It allows for tournaments like March Madness, where each user can submit their tournament bracket and have it scored against the admin’s master. The tool offers styles for actual sports tournaments and sharing brackets with other players.
While it does have most basic features, the plugin is, well, basic. Office Pool Stop has a simplistic interface and lacks styling tools to customize your tournament brackets.
Tournament Scheduler is a web solution that offers a simple way to create round-robin tournaments of any kind. The tool can create a shareable schedule that allows players to access the schedule without editing privileges.
In its simplicity, Tournament Scheduler lacks any real tournament management besides the necessary scheduling. There’s no option to create leagues, add and manage players, or create a tournament bracket.
18. Online Brackets
Online Brackets is a web-based tournament creator for round-robin tournaments and single/double knockout models. Up to 64 teams are supported per contest.
The Online Brackets platform is lacking a bit of functionality when it comes to managing tournaments. It also doesn’t allow for website creation or sharing more than game scores to participants.
Price: The Basic Plan costs $10 for six months, and Premium costs $9/month.
Winner is a comprehensive and flexible mobile tournament creator. It allows for the organization and management of competitions in all shapes and sizes.
The one real downside to using Winner is that teams cannot be saved and carried over to other leagues or sports. If you want to make a league or tournament for a separate sport, you need to add the teams and players all over again manually.
Price: Winner offers a monthly subscription starting at $1.49/month
BracketCloud is a responsive cloud-based tournament management app that’s usable on computer, mobile, and tablet. It hosts a modern interface and tools with essential tournament organization features.
Unfortunately, the major caveat is the player registration process, which can be excessively tedious and confusing.
Price: BracketCloud costs $10/month or $90 annually.
Tournaments have been around for eons, and with digital technology, they are poised to be around long into the future. Today, many kinds of tournament makers are available, with a range of products that will fit every game-master’s needs. Only you can decide which tool is the right one for your tournament and participants.
When it comes down to creating an engaging and memorable tournament, Common Ninja offers the most comprehensive, attractive tournament creation package. It’s the best way to move beyond printed brackets and on to a digital tourney on your website, with all the features and interactivity you need to succeed.