Organizing an Esports Tournament, a Helpful Guide

by Fabio

Whenever the likes of ESL, DreamHack and RIOT decide to host an event, hundreds of individuals are involved in its planning and execution. There are countless different aspects of tournament organizing that have to be considered. This is also proves to be true for smaller, semi-professional esports tournaments. 

Even if you’re just planning to stream on a webcam from your bedroom, it will likely take you some time to adequately set up a tournament. In this article you will learn about the different aspects of organizing semi-professional esports tournaments and how you can automate them with the help of platforms like Bitspawn.

How Do I Get Others To Join My Event?

If you shout your tournament announcement into empty space, no one will hear your calls and take part in your event. To you, that’s nothing new, of course. Everybody needs a marketing strategy to reach and activate their target audience. 

How you do this largely depends on your social media following. If you have access to huge channels with lots of followers or subscribers you likely won’t have trouble announcing your event. Well-known tournament organizers don’t need to invest a huge sum into marketing when it comes to their events. ESL One Cologne, The International or the League of Legends World Championship practically run themselves in terms of online viewership and ticket sales, simply because they’re iconic and just a ___ within the annual tournament calendar. If you’re just starting out, however, there are still a couple of means with which you can generate a buzz around your new tournament.

First, you need to find the most important news sites and forums for your specific esports title. For instance, if you plan to host a CS:GO event you should check out and the CS:GO subreddit. Here, you target audience is concentrated, so you can post announcements and general information on your tournament. 

But that’s not all. If you want others to take part in your event, you need to make the entrance barrier as low as possible. Nobody wants to sign up to an event via email or transfer entrance fees through their bank. Instead, you should provide a landing page with an easy-to-understand and accessible sign-up interface, where users can swiftly register themselves for your event and deposit the entrance fee. 

Of course you can just use a tournament organizing platform like Bitspawn. Here, you just create a tournament with a few button clicks and afterwards, players only need to log onto Bitspawn and register themselves for the event. 

How Do I Present My Event To Others?

Broadcasting is perhaps the most important aspect of your tournament, at least if you want others to follow your event. The top organizers have dedicated staff and huge broadcasting stations, where multiple video feeds are taken in and organized by a director, who decides which video signal to output to the audience. But even if you don’t have access to such equipment and professional staff, there are ways in which you can bring your tournament to life visually.

With software like XSplit or OBS, it has become quite easy to get onto a server and record live matches. Games such as Dota 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive feature auto-directors, which automatically decide which player to follow and which angles to show. They’re far from perfect, but will carry you a long way. In principle, you have already got everything you need in order to stream your esports tournament into the internet, especially since these streaming tools can upload directly to Twitch, YouTube Live, Mixer, Facebook, and others. But of course there additional steps you can take to create a more professional appearance for your event.

If you want to brand your tournament (especially if you have sponsors), you will have to create overlays and graphics to display on top of the game’s video feed. Tools such as GIMP offer you free and accessible means to create these kinds of graphics and incorporating them into your streaming software should not be too difficult either. 

Equipment & Inter-Game Content

Don’t skimp out on audio equipment! Your casting will likely be heard throughout the whole match, so make sure that it sounds high-quality. So many good webcams, like the Logitech C920, are already available around the $100 mark and will give your casters the opportunity to appear in person between matches. While this increases your overall production quality, it also enables you to fill down-time with engaging content and discussions.

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can also create engaging content around and after your matches. Professional tournaments fill segments will game analyses, picking the matches apart and displaying statistics throughout. Bitspawn offers Game Data Automation, meaning that you will have plenty of match statistics to work with in your analysis segments.

esports players at lan event

How Do I Collect Entrance Fees and Pay Out Prize Money?

Let’s assume that you want to monetize your event. The first issues already arise when trying to get players to pay for taking part in your esports tournament. How do you collect the money? If you let the players transfer via PayPal or similar services, you will have to manually check and verify all payments. Some players might also not be willing and trusting enough to submit money in such a fashion. After all, where is their guarantee that you will actually hold the tournament and deliver on your prize money promises?

If you want to automate these processes, you might want to take a look at out-of-the-box services. Bitspawn collects entrance fees directly from the players and automatically pays out the prize money. From start to finish, players and organizers work in a safe environment, where neither of the parties can screw each other over.

How Do I Ensure a Seamless Playing Experience?

Game Administration is perhaps the most challenging aspect of hosting an esports tournament. Hardly ever does a match play out without a single technical issue. Sometimes, even entire servers can fail and when that happens, only professionals and experienced game admins can fix this. Even for minor issues – say, a team arriving too late to the match or simply calling a pause for a player whose internet connection has broken down – a person is required to constantly monitor the game and respond to inquiries by the players, further cutting into your budget and into your profit margins. 

Finally, how do you intend to get the players onto the server? Do you send the IP to all players separately? How do you record the match results? How do you draw the tournament’s bracket? All of these issues have to be dealt with in order to ensure that your players can safely and competitively partake in your tournament.

Bitspawn is Here to Help You!

Of course you can try to manage all of that by yourself or hire additional staff to deal with these challenges. But you don’t have to. Bitspawn solves all of these issues and bundles them into one seamless process. Simply create an esports tournament and wait for teams to join. Our system will automatically collect entrance fees and create servers for all your matches. The players will be brought onto the servers and after the match is done, our system automatically collects the game data and updates the tournament bracket for you. 

We provide the servers and make sure that they run smoothly. If there’s an issue, we have people to fix it. This means that you won’t have to provide any server administrators or technicians on your end, which is great for your pocket and your calm. After the tournament has ended, the prize money is automatically transferred over to the players and all of this takes place without you having to lift a single finger. Bitspawn can greatly improve the quality of your event, so why not create a tournament with Bitspawn?

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