Live Esports Events: The Basics
A live show lets fans of a rock band scream along to their favorite rock ballads without annoying the neighbors. A basketball game helps the fans of a team find solidarity in the seas of similar merchandise matching their favorite team’s colors. Like these traditional live events, an esports live event is about uniting people with similar interests to enjoy a memorable experience together.
Live events have been a part of esports from the beginning. At first this was a necessity—competitive players for games like Space Invaders or Street Fighters needed to gather together in order to compete. But even though most popular esports games today are playable online and streamed to viewers all over the world, fans and players still love to come together for tournaments.
If your business wants to organize or participate in a live esports event, here are some basic things you should know.
Who Organizes an Esports Event?
Many different groups come together to make an esports event happen:
- Game publishers – without a game to play, the event wouldn’t exist. If publishers don’t host the event, they might license out the game instead.
- Sponsors – large esports events cost money to produce. Sponsors offer funding and gear in exchange for high-profile advertising space.
- Teams/players – someone has to play the games. Esports athletes often play for a specific team, even if the game itself is played solo.
- The crowd – fans breathe life into the event. Some of the crowd might consist of players and coaches waiting for their turn in the tournament.
And who organizes the event? That changes from tournament to tournament. Some publishers might run their own event, like Riot Games running the League of Legends LCS. Other tournaments are organized by a production company, such as ESL or DreamHack. Collegiate tournaments often start thanks to student-run clubs.
Whoever organizes the event will also need to heavily coordinate with the venue itself—some tournaments have hosted hundreds of thousands of live spectators over the course of the event. And finally, live esports events will also often include coordination with streaming platforms to extend the reach of the tournament. Twitch and YouTube are currently the two most common platforms.
Who Attends Esports Events?
So who attends esports live events—is it only hardcore gamers who play several hours of games each day? While 30% of esports event attendees do play games for five or more hours a day, more (33%) play games for less than three hours a day1.
Esports fans at live events don’t just play games. They watch them too. More than a third (38%) watch others play games for ten or more hours a week. In terms of traditional American sports, ten hours is the same as watching more than four NBA games or three NFL games. Speaking of traditional sports, over half (54%) of esports event attendees watch games played on grass or hardwood as well1.
Unsurprisingly, gamers who attend an esports live event are also often interested in other gaming-related events, from launch parties (35%) to conventions (72%) 1.
Looking at more universal demographics, around 80% of the people attending esports events identify as male, and three-fourths fall in the 18-34 age range1. But those numbers can vary according to region and to the games being played. For example, in Korea, 32% of esports fans are female, compared to 17% in the US2.
While live events of any kind require a lot of communication and hard work to pull off, fans love them. Esports events provide a unique way for businesses to engage the fans who are most engaged with gaming.
If you’re looking for additional info on planning esports live events, XLIVE will be hosting a panel of experts on this subject later this year.
1. Eventbrite. “The eSports Effect: Gamers and the Influence of Live Events.” https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/academy/the-esports-effect-gamers-and-the-influence-of-live-events/
2. Nielsen.com “Meet the Female Esports Fan.” https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/meet-the-female-esports-fan/