The demand for professional esports event planners has grown in recent years due to the increased number of video game events ranging from smaller community-driven gaming competitions to major international esports tournaments that can attract thousands of esports enthusiasts and industry professionals.
A basic video game competition or tournament typically has a strong community of players and fans which usually garner a solid turnout at every show. However, not all gaming events are esports events.
“The bedrock of a gaming event creates the basis for an esports tournament,” Arena Consultancy’s Ben Akroyd explains. “When you sprinkle esports on top, then you’ve got two additional aspects to consider; the broadcast and the online audience. Esports, in my mind, is like a broadcast production in a studio that can bring in five thousand, ten thousand, or even more potential attendees.”
What Are the Main Stages of Esports Tournament Planning?
There are around five main points to consider when planning an esports event though the specifics will vary greatly depending on the scale and type of event that you’re organising.
Location and time zone: Location planning is important for both online and offline esports event planning as you’ll want to sell tickets for the real-world event and attract a high volume of viewers from around the globe during the initial broadcast. “For example, let’s take League of Legends and DOTA 2,” says Akroyd. “They both have a massive audience in Asia and smaller audiences in Western countries. Conversely, Counterstrike is huge in Europe and less so in Asia. While you want to have the optimal location for the offline audience to attend in person, equally as important is the broadcast time and who you’re trying to hit from a broadcast perspective.”
Budget: Do you really need a massive stadium for your esports event or would you be perfectly fine with a smaller location while targeting a large online audience? “Remember, the key component of esports is online broadcasting,” Akroyd reiterates. “Without being online, it’s not an esport. Will you even be able to sell 10 thousand tickets for a physical esports event to recoup your costs? It’s a tough one because that kind of experience comes with a price tag. Is it even worth doing if your target demographic prefers to watch events online via Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms?”
Suppliers: When planning an esports experience, you want to make sure that the people you hire have experience putting on such an event or, at the very least, know what they’re doing from working on similar kinds of projects. Due to the live nature of broadcasting esports, you want to minimise the risk of complications as much as possible.
Marketing and ticket sales: In a way, you’re kind of competing with yourself when promoting an esports event. You want to get a lot of viewers watching the broadcast at home but you also need to market the experience of watching the competition in person as being such a spectacle that your target demographic feels compelled to make the trip to the venue and buy a ticket. Venues typically have their own system already set up for selling tickets though you may be able to negotiate, with the help of a professional event planner, and add additional platforms for ticket sales so that you can better market to your demographic target audience.
Tech planning: Ensuring that the venue’s internet connection is fast enough and reliable enough to use for an esports tournament is incredibly important. “At a past esports tournament, we had an issue whereby the main network line had gone down and we discovered that the backup network connection had also stopped working,” reveals Akroyd. “It turned out the backup was provided by the same internet service provider so it went completely offline as did the second. The broadcast went dead on Twitch, YouTube, everywhere.”
Something else to think about in regards to tech planning for esports events is a practice space for the esports teams. “A while back for an event, we put the players’ practice space near the stage at the venue and quickly discovered that the venue’s security was going to charge us extra for the required 24-hour access. In response, we booked out an additional suite in the hotel and moved all of the gaming equipment there. All eight teams could then practice 24-7, anytime they wanted, right next door to their room.
“It’s all about putting yourself in the players’ position, being empathetic, and thinking about which hurdles you can get rid of rather than unintentionally create.”
What Is an Esports Event Organiser?
An esports event organiser or planner is a person who acts as a mediator between the client and the various parties needed to put on an esports event. A good esports event organiser will typically;
Know about the esports and video game industries.
Already have established relationships with venues and professionals.
Have experience working in the target country, or region.
Know a lot about the city the esports event’s going to be held in.
Be able to offer alternative solutions to event problems.
And is willing to share information and data with the client before, during, and after the event.
“The role I play is to work with a client to locate the ideal location and venue for an esports event and then negotiate with the venue for the best price possible, which can usually be quite difficult,” explains Akroyd. “With tens of thousands of potential venues around the world, it can be very intimidating, costly, and even risky for companies to try and book everything directly. Especially in cities and countries that they’re unfamiliar with. Using an event planner, such as myself, is a win-win for everyone involved.”
Ben Akroyd is an award-winning event director with over 25 years of experience in the esports and gaming space. He’s organised events for major brands such as SEGA, Ubisoft, Red Bull Gaming, and numerous others in Mexico and all across North America and Europe. Ben prides himself on his industry knowledge and close relationships with numerous national venues from the SEC and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to ExCeL London and Twickenham Stadium.
Work with Ben when planning your next esports event by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +44 7899 962 423 today.