When ManaNation first began, one of the earliest episodes we did was where Lee and I guessed the locations of the 2008 Pro Tour (the only one we got right was Pro Tour Berlin). Well, with the 2010 Grand Prix schedule about to drop (being due any day now) I'm going to make some guesses about what 2010 holds for us. Again, this is in NO WAY official, it is almost entirely made up of educated guesses and dart throwing.
We're expecting there to be more Grand Prixes than ever before. Magic is doing well. Really well. It is on a major upswing and they are going to try and foster that with more attendable marquee events. It's like building a fire, once you have a solid set of embers, you must fuel it and in this case the fuel is composed of cards to play, and somewhere to play them.
So how many is that? Let's see. The first season of GPs, 96-97, had only five Grand Prixes. The season with the most was 2006, which had 26 Grand Prixes. Recent years are sitting around 21 or 22. So if we're looking for a new record, that would probably be near 30 Grand Prixes, but that may be greedy, so let's say 29.
Let's make some guesses, I'll start near home and go from there.
GP Atlanta1 - Atlanta just had a GP in 2008, but it's always popular and it is quite accessible.
GP Orlando2 - Here I am getting a little greedy, Orlando is a tourist destination and we haven't had one since the 2003-04 season. But it would mean a second GP in the Southeast of the US, where normally we get, at most, one.
GP Baltimore3 - Going up the east coast I think we may make a pit stop in a city we have never had a GP in before. Baltimore. Why shouldn't they have one?
Keeping on up the northeast normally gets 1, maybe 2 Grand Prixes. 2009 was Boston and 2008 was Philadelpha. So how about 2010?
GP NYC4 - We've never had a Grand Prix IN New York. We had Worlds there in 2007, and we've had Pro tours there, but the Big Apple has never played host to a GP. If 2010 is going to be a banner year, then it will probably hit NYC.
Heading west from there, we've hugged the eastern seaboard, so let's nudge west.
GP Portland5 - Portland is a happening city, it would be a great host to a Magic tournament.
GP San Francisco6 - A little birdy told me that this one was happening, so this isn't really a guess. Supposedly the weekend right before Pro Tour San Diego. Rather awesome synergy there.
GP St. Louis7 - In the heartland it is a great city (my fiancee is from there) and the city hasn't hosted a GP since 2006. They got a SCG5k this year, but they're ready for another GP I think.
GP Houston8 - Heading south Texas provides us with a likely destination. Pro Tour Austin was well attended, and Houston is perhaps even slightly more accessible.
GP New Orleans9 - Haven't been back since the horrors of Hurrican Katrina, but it is a popular location and would do quite well I imagine.
And that wraps up the US Pro Tours. Except I expect we have one more North America, in Canada. We had Vancouver in 2008, Montreal in 2007 and Toronto in 2006. All of these are likely destinations, but I am going to pick the middle one.
Only 19 more to go. Let's head South of America.
GP Mexico City11 - It's only played host to one GP, while poorly attended it could likely have been tied to the format being Kamigawa Block Constructed.
And then heading to South America I think I see...
GP Rio de Janiero12 - We haven't been there since 2001, it's high time we head back.
GP Santiago13 - Same as above, in fact it was the same year when we were here last.
Now we travel across the ocean to Europe.
GP London14 - It seems critical. We haven't been there for a GP since 2003-04 season. We need to return and see the Queen.
GP Madrid15 - In Spain two cities have really dominated in terms of the numbers and those are Madrid and Barcelona. Recently they have been nearly swapping off on the GP location and this year should be Madrid's turn.
GP Lyon16 - It's like a greatest hits album, if it worked last time, and we haven't overplayed the song let's bring it back! Lyon was last in 2003 and it had over 1000 players, I bet we blow that attendance out of the water.
GP Leipzig17 - Last time we were there it was one of the most heavily attended Grand Prixes ever, and we haven't been back since. Time to return!
GP Zurich18 - Another multiple GP city which we haven't been too in several years.
GP Bologna19 - Rome is a hard act to follow for a country, but if any country can it's Italy and within it we can return to Bologna for another outstanding attendance GP.
With that we turn eastwards.
In Russia there have been precious few Grand Prixes for Magic but this year I think they will give it a go and we'll see one. Of the potential cities we've only been to a few and I think they'll test the waters in a new city with GP St. Petersburg20.
Then we'll zip over into south-east Asia.
GP Shanghai21 - China is an imposing location, but I have to believe that Wizards dearly wants to make headway into that country, so we may likely see a GP there.
GP Taipei22 - Perhaps the most popular location for a GP, they have held one nearly every other year since the 98-99 season.
GP Seoul23 - This is me day-dreaming. Seoul has a vibrant and huge professional gamer league, the most successful in the world I believe, and I can only imagine Magic in that sort of environment where gamers are celebrities known on street corners. I wish it were a Pro Tour but for whatever reason this has never happened, so perhaps we'll start with a GP.
Japan is a stronghold for Magic in Asia, the Japanese pros are well known and well respected for strong methodical play and surprising deck technology, the country the size of California will play host to the World Championships in 2010, but what does that mean for GPs? Not much I still expect to see them get two.
GP Nagoya24 - Having been there before and having decent enough attendance, it seems a prime spot to return.
GP Hiroshima25 - Hiroshima has been quite popular as a Japanese GP destination, but we haven't been there since 2006.
Then traveling into the Philippines where there is a very healthy growing interest in Magic, I think we return somewhere we have been in 2006 and 2008, GP Manila26. The last GP there was nearly 700 attendees, and had doubled since just two years before, I must believe this is a prime location for 2010.
Then we head to the land down under, Australia.
GP Sydney27 - Since 2006 we haven't been down there, but Australia always gets at least one GP. Sydney would make a prime spot.
GP Brisbane28 - One of the premier locations for Australia, this would be its fourth GP the first being in the 2001-02 season.
And then, the cherry on top, the final GP location I think we'll see is: GP Paris29. We've been there often and it has continued to deliver top attendance numbers of anywhere in the world. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So let's keep hitting the city of lights until those lights go out.
There you have it, my guesses. We should have the real 2010 GP schedule out soon, and when we do I'll compare notes to see how I do (I'll be happy if I get 10 of these right.)
Update: Replaced 'Malaysia' with 'the Philippines'