How to organise an esports tournament

In 2016, the final of the League Of Legends World Championship took place at the iconic Staples Center, usually home to the Los Angeles Lakers. It is not uncommon these days for an event, particularly an esports tournament, to sell out the biggest venues in the countries where they are organised. We can observe an increasing number of these tournaments – even “amateur” ones – across Europe and the UK where these competitions are highly popular. If you wish to organise an esports competition, here is our advice.

The Venue

Several factors should be considered when selecting the venue. Firstly, you should be aware of your goal. If you wish to organise a small-scale tournament, you do not need to hire the nearest city’s exhibition centre, a local arts centre will suffice. Whatever the scale of your event, think about choosing a location where you can set up a large amount of electrical equipment and a high-speed broadband – more on that later. However, if you want to organise a large scale event with an audience, plan for a big enough venue equipped with the necessary logistics.

The key to organising a successful esports event is to define the objectives and expectations around it before choosing a suitable venue.

Registrations and Ticketing

For both gamers and audience to be happy with the show, it is important to:

  • Give them information on admission, onsite services and price(s).
  • Let them know what services are included and/or provided onsite (or not) on the day of the tournament. That is important information for both gamers and audience.
  • Take the time to customise your tickets, as this will enhance your event’s branding.
  •  Send invitations to teams of gamers, journalists, influencers, and partners who could promote your event.

All of this can be done using Weezevent!

Content is critical

It is obviously necessary to keep up-to-date with gaming news and trends. There are, however, classics that will attract a lot of teams, gamers and a large audience, such as sports games (FIFA), fighting games (Street), and FPS (First person shooter games e.g. Counter Strike or Call Of Duty) but mostly Battle Royale games (i.e. Survival games, e.g. Fortnite) and MOBAs (i.e. Multiplayer online battle arena such as League of Legends).

However, it is important to target the games you really want to present so as to stay focused.

Similarly, even more than the games, the teams of professional players are very important and must be chosen with care. Indeed, these gaming celebrities have a high influence on attendance rate, engagement and atmosphere for the audience during the tournament. Gather information about a game’s major players and the most iconic gamers if you want to organise a large event.

Ensure the success of your event

Now that you have chosen your venue, the game you want to present and the competitors, it is time to focus on logistics.

In terms of equipment, plan a big stage for the finals so that a large audience can cheer them on. For the knock-out stages, plan a space for each team to play in a comfortable setting, within their own space.

Think of air-conditioning or heating depending on the season! Too few tournaments or LAN parties think about the comfort of the players, yet this little detail can only benefit your event.

Plan for food and drinks for both players and audience members. Food trucks, catering, cafeteria, partners, etc. there is a plethora of solutions!

Don’t forget safety – notify the firefighters, the local authorities and ensure onsite safety if you expect a large audience… Security guards are critical at events such as esports tournaments because they also ensure the safety of the equipment day & night. And equipment in this type of competition, often brought by the players (screens, keyboards, mice, webcams, microphones, etc.), is generally of high quality and represents a lot of money.

Technology is essential

Tech is obviously the one element that absolutely needs to be flawless. Events such as esports tournaments gather together a lot of players (sometimes hundreds). This means hundreds of machines such as PCs, screens, microphones, TVs, dacs for gaming, etc. It is therefore very important to provide a stable and strong power system, and plan for a back-up in case of a breakdown. There is nothing more frustrating – and some recent examples prove it – for a player than having wait for power to come back up during a tournament.

Like power and maybe even more essential: broadband. Video games are mostly played online during a tournament. With hundreds of players in one place, the broadband connection needs to be very powerful for several reasons. Firstly, for the players themselves and their gaming comfort. Many recent examples have shown the struggles of players who had to endure unstable Internet connections. Similarly, the audience will not enjoy the best possible show. Finally, a poor Internet connection can stall your event for several hours – because the competition cannot go on in a poor setting – and risks creating controversy. In order to best prepare for this aspect, get in touch with a service provider very early on, and run lots of tests to ensure a strong connection. Using a VPN for gaming can also help mitigate issues like lag and provide a more stable connection by routing traffic through optimal servers.

Budget should not be overlooked

Of course, for an event to be profitable, the budget needs to be managed reasonably. Esports tournaments are special because several unusual factors come into play. Firstly, the Internet budget must be high because, as we explained before, a good broadband connection is critical to esports tournaments for everyone: players, event organisers and audience.

Don’t forget to allocate budget for extra screens and speakers so that the audience can enjoy the show wherever they are and can hear the commentary and the game! If you want to optimise your costs, don’t hesitate to contact gaming brands and set-up a partnership with them. They can provide equipment in exchange for some advertising. If you want to focus on one game, contact the game publisher so that they can contribute, promote your event or sponsor you. This is not uncommon!

Organising an esports tournament remains similar to many other sports events: take care of your competitors, put together a great show for the audience and may the best team win!

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