Your Need-To-Know Guide Before Organizing a Gaming (eSports) Event
eSports has quickly become a billion dollar industry. There were nearly 400 million eSports viewers last year alone! This figure is likely to escalate to over 550 million viewers within two years.
As a result, it is now possible for serious gamers to earn upwards of seven figures per year through eSport competition prizes, corporate endorsements and revenue from live streaming.
However, organizing an eSports competition is easier said than done. It is not enough to simply invite a bunch of gamers to a large room with multiple TVs, video game consoles and cameras.
Significant preparation is necessary to ensure your eSports competition is completed without a hitch.
Learn and understand your esports audience
Some people are obsessed with video games, while others have no interest in gaming or understand the fun of it.
It is a mistake to begin planning your eSports competition without a full understanding of the sport and your target demographic.
Zero in on the people most likely to watch and take part in the tournament. Tailor all the details of your upcoming competition to the needs, desires and tastes of these gamers.
Remember, the event isn't about you, it's about them.
Once you have a full understanding of your target demographic, you can efficiently use your time and marketing effort as you lay the groundwork for the upcoming event.
If you suspect there is minimal local interest in such a tournament, perform a dry run on a small scale by hosting a “micro” eSports competition at your home or another local building that can be rented at an affordable rate.
Gauge the response to this small-scale eSports competition, and you will probably find there is enough of a response to justify holding a significantly larger event.
Other ways to test your demographics and get to know your market:
Conduct heavy research on the industry (Evaluate competition, run SWOT analysis, different game types, past prizes offered, etc.)
- Run surveys and polls (Assess demographics in your area, poll for who would want to attend or be in favor of the event)
- Conduct a market survey (Market needs, current trends, competition, who are you targeting)
- Network to learn more about your marketplace and whose apart from it in your area
Set financial parameters for your event (budget)
There is no sense hosting an eSports competition if you break even or lose money. However, it is awfully easy to spend a significant amount of money on the event and its marketing.
Do not lose sight of how much you spend on each component of the competition, ranging from video game consoles to screens, refreshments, food, etc.
Consider the potential demand for such a competition and the popularity of the game in question compared to your spending.
Once you have a good idea of how much you can charge for tickets, how many tickets will sell and other potential sources of revenue such as sponsorships, merchandise, access passes, entry fees and so on, you will establish a reasonably accurate budget.
What to budget for:
Venue (depending on the event and if fully streamed). If entire event is streamed online, the venue can be a small room for the players to play in.
Equipment for gamers
Equipment for streaming, lighting, sound, etc.
If event is live, extra TV screens for broadcasting
Staff (film crew, director, day-of coordinator, admissions, catering/food/vendors, tear down/set up teams)
Marketing and branding efforts
- Game hosts
Establish positive reinforcement
Give competitors something to strive towards.
Whether the prize is cash, a spending spree, a video game console of the winner’s choice or a trip to a tropical destination, there must be a positive reinforcement and a reason to compete.
Otherwise, few gamers will show up to your competition.
Though some competitors might take part without the prospect of a prize in an attempt to garner attention, the competition will prove that much more entertaining and financially successful if each gamer is giving his or her all in an attempt to win the ultimate prize.
Carefully select the game venue
The venue you select for your eSports competition has the potential to make or break the event. An overly large venue will make it difficult for attendees to see all the action.
A venue that is too cramped will make participants feel uncomfortable.
Find a happy medium between these two, tour the venue’s merits when marketing the competition and it will be that much easier for the event to prove successful.
From movie theaters to exhibition halls, small sports gyms/arenas and beyond, there are plenty of potential venues for your eSports competition.
Above all, the venue’s location is of the utmost importance.
Select the right location for your eSports competition and you will maximize the chances of a solid turnout.
Finally, do not sign on the dotted line until you are sure the venue has the right licensing to provide a cash payout at the tournament’s end.
If your municipality mandates a gaming license to host such an event, make sure it is in place well ahead of the big day.
Tip for eSports venues: look for one where you can incorporate a giant screen, center stage and multiple screens throughout the space to watch the event.
It is not enough to simply hold an eSports competition to ramp up local interest in your event. The eSports competition must be streamed.
The question is what platform to use and how to do it.
Ideally, you will use one of these popular gaming streaming sites:
The next step is to consider how viewer registration will be handled.
Whether you plan on offering in-person seating and/or online viewing, establishing an event management software will keep you organized.
Design your ideal seating chart!
Whether your event is general admission, assigned
Embrace the challenge of marketing
Begin marketing your event as soon as you have completed the tasks detailed above.
Consider the many different marketing channels when determining how to best advertise your upcoming eSports competition.
From Facebook ads to creating a website, building a blog, spending for a search engine optimization (SEO) push, airing ads on TV/radio and putting out flyers at local establishments, there are all sorts of different ways to market your event.
If you're struggling with marketing your gaming event, you can find more tips at our event marketing blog category.
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