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I am looking for a tournament management software that includes some non-standard things. So far, I haven't found anything usable for my purposes and I don't expect any to exist. Instead I want to find something close that I can extend and tweak according to my wishes.

Here are the requirements, for which I am looking for in a web-based tournament management software:

  • Customizable: open-source would be perfect, otherwise at least needs to support plug-ins to support different kinds of sports/games/results/etc.
  • Authentication: support for authenticated users that can be related to different tournaments as well as teams
  • Runs mostly non-supervised: as the tournaments are web-based I'd like to give contestants the possibility to sign-up themselves (based on authentication system to reduce the spamming problem) and report results themselves. Result reports vary dramatically based on the actual tournament, hence, may require some result determination plug-ins. The goal is to drastically reduce the required manual effort by administrators compared to typical tournament management software.
  • Web interface: I am not interested in off-line tournament management software
  • Active: If in any way possible I'd like to build upon software that is maintained and/or in active development

Some optional nice-to-have features would be:

  • automatic bracket generation with selectable algorithms (round-robin, KO system, etc)
  • visualizations (mainly brackets)
  • statistics

I am asking this question after researching alternatives my google-fu could find. I will list the tools here that I found and what is wrong with them for my purposes. Please feel free to help me improve my google-fu, or point out if I have overlooked something in my evaluations.

  • open tournament system: looks roughly like what I had in mind, but never seems to have taken off and is unmaintained for almost half a decade now
  • KMleague: also sounds nice, but doesn't appear to be maintained anymore (I couldn't get access to their forums for more information either. Never received the activation e-mail.) Maybe someone here knows it and whether it's worthwhile to check out the code as a starting point.
  • In this SO thread I found Tourney logic and TournamentAPI, which both require off-line management of the tournaments. Additionally, the first is commercial and the latter hasn't released anything yet.
  • Konkuri.com - gives me not enough customization possibilities and requires heavy moderation by some administrator.

Several commercial products I quickly dismissed for their lack of customizability (most are strictly limited to a certain sport/game) and because all I came across where again off-line managed.

Does anyone know of something that could be used as a starting point, or will I have to develop such a system from scratch?

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3 Answers

This is a tricky one; lets break it down into separate parts.

Statistics

The "Results Reports" and "Bracket Generation" will require a flexible system to store the scores and be able to render them correctly in a visual format. Building something to do this for all the different scoring systems would require something like No-SQL (or bit-masking integer fields in SQL) and heavy coding. My hunch on this would be that due to the niche market and relative simplicity, only commercially supported efforts would succeed here. To draw a parallel which springs to mind, how many E-commerce systems with multi-item entry and automatic bespoke customisations which alter price, done on a shoestring, have you seen in the wild? Or put simply, this way madness lies.

Normalising data and producing tournament board visuals using third party tools seems sensible here (remembering there is a WebApps StackExchange site). Tournament boards can be created using scripting methods on the right resources, here is a crude example using the wrong tool (its the only one I use, just a quick example where there are four participants and Jodie wins):

Poor example of a tournament visual

On the data side, you'll need to be able to refer to people, teams, governing bodies (or whoever makes the rules and organises the tournaments) and the tournaments themselves. You can group people into teams, remembering that team membership has a start and end date/time and in some tournaments this may change during the tournament itself. Some team members may not attend every tournament and some can be a reserve that attended yet may not have participated. Anyone can "own" a tournament (although you can use an authentication method to prove ownership). This sounds like a bread and butter CRM. Replace teams with companies and tournaments with opportunities.

Web Reputation Systems

If the site is to be self-maintained, beyond using tools such as Akismet, bot-proof-forms and ReCaptcha (other solutions do exist), you may want to look into reputation systems to regulate user activity. There are plenty of blogs and books on the matter (my personal favourites are Clay Shirky and the O'Reilly book linked to in the title of this section). This should help regulate smaller or local events.

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It is not clear to me why statistics require a noSQL solution. –  Sinan Apr 6 '11 at 18:20
    
One of the requirements was "automatic bracket generation with selectable algorithms (round-robin, KO system, etc)" - this will require different fields against the same type of entity (game, player, match, league) or an ever growing bunch of SQL tables. You can do it with a bit-masked integer field (hoping that you do not hit the limit of its capabilities) and finding a way to express data in that format, or use NoSQL. Try drawing ERDs for a few example tournaments and see how many new tables per new type of tournament you have to create. –  Metalshark Apr 13 '11 at 11:25
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You should try webSPELL. They have been around for a long time and they make a recent esports/clan CMS.

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We needed a solution for an online tournament software system. We have been super happy with Tournament-Bracket-Maker.com for our tournament website.

If you go on tournament-bracket-maker.com it will direct you to the guys who can build a website for a tournament. It was only like $400 and it took ALL the hassle out of running a tournament online.

We just put the tournament draws online, schedules, even things like a Google map for directions and could even upload sponsor images.

You should check them out.

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