Managing an esports event Part 2 – What can go wrong

In part 1 of managing an esports event from an esports project management standpoint, we looked at a few things that can go wrong. In part 2, I’ll share even more things that can possibly go wrong during the event. Proper esports tournament planning is always crucial so be sure to check out my guide on that too. If you’re looking at a budget or unsure where to start? Be sure to check out my esports tournament budget guide.

  • You’re understaffed and didn’t plan accordingly. You thought you only needed 2 volunteers for your 8 team and 60 person LAN? *shakes head*. It’s OK, we’ve all been understaffed. The good thing is a positive attitude and game planning can go a long way to make your understaffed LAN / event seem like everything is going on correctly in the background. Try to organize manager groups, organize runners for teams and ensure that player requests are taken care of in a timely manner.
  • Understand your rules – You’re getting a lot of questions about your rulebook as it doesn’t make sense. Do you need to make a change or do you need to clarify something? Make sure you TALK TO EVERY TEAM and clarify the rule. If you still get push back maybe your rule makes no sense and it’s time to get a 3rd party opinion on it! Be sure to always ask about rules you’re unsure of and to see if they make sense.
    • There’s also times where a team will have a few questions, just clarify the rule for them and answer any questions they may have.
  • You can’t satisfy all the player requests coming your way. Yes, this happens obviously. Tournament organizers cannot satisfy every request from players. However, a lot of the times it’s negotiation between the teams and the TO. You’re going to have to find a happy balance so that players and teams are happy.
  • Your food catering isn’t going well – I was at an event where they cut off the catering halfway (LOL). Instead of catering they ordered take out for everyone. Make sure you make it CLEAR what’s going on food wise for the entire tournament. Don’t switch things up halfway and not communicate anything to anyone.
  • Your team is quitting on your event. Yikes, this one is a tough one. Chances are your event has gone really bad and you’re a new team. In traditional project management this would be the “storming” phase. Unfortunately for a live event you don’t have a couple of weeks to get it together and go through lessons learned. Proper planning is always key to avoid this. If you did everything right and people are still quitting, you may need to look at yourself and your management style.
  • Everyone thinks you’re an asshole. Reputation is everything and word travels quite fast in esports. If you’re an asshole or unpleasant to work with, people are less likely to invite you to events or work with you in the future.
  • You didn’t fully understand the legal contract in place with the game publisher – Ouch. It’s important to look at ALL the legal document when doing a tournament if you have a license agreement. Sometimes there is fine print that states you need to end the show a certain way or include credit to publisher. There’s nothing worse than having an unhappy publisher because you missed or overlooked a small requirement. For example, the contract could say “Please include Copyright XYZ Publisher, 2020, thank you to our fans for viewing” (this is just an example). The most important thing is to get in front of it and be proactive rather than REACTIVE.
  • Stop being reactive, be proactive. If you know you’re going to miss a deadline or miss something, just call it out and have a discussion. There’s nothing absolutely worse than giving your word continuously and not being able to commit to anything. For example, you’ve promised a team an update on their match tomorrow but you need to talk to someone first. That someone is missing and you cannot get back to the team. Instead of leaving them in the dark and them sending you a WhatsApp message at 2am, give them an update saying “Hey TEAM, I’m looking into your request for tomorrow’s match, please allow me to get back to you shortly. The person I’m trying to contact has been away for quite some time. If I cannot get a hold of them in the next hour we’ll go with what we discussed an hour ago. Thanks”. It’ll go over WAYYYY smoother. Trust me.
  • Your tournament partner is going to the hockey game while you run a tournament – Pull them aside and tell them how much work has to be done. Make sure they understand your needs. If they give you a blank look they’re hopeless and just move on to the task at hand.
  • You didn’t setup twitch chat moderation – Some good and easy moderator bots are nightbot, moobot and probably a few dozen others. Make sure you have some sort of auto moderator setup in twitch + you have some human moderators who can take care of business too. Twitch chat can get out of control very fast so be sure to know your twitch chat commands inside and out quickly.
  • Your production partners aren’t what you thought they’d be – Sometimes bringing friends who have experience in production and live events can help. However, production is the LIFE BLOOD of the event. Bad production can make any event regardless of teams look absolutely amateur on twitch. Make sure you have a proper vetting system in place and ask around what their credentials are BEFORE hiring anyone.
  • Your casting talent has no idea what they’re looking at or is generally confused. – Chances are this is a miscommunication between your production team and the casting talent. You’re going to have to sort out with your TD / Talent on what’s going on so you can operate smoothly.
  • The police came and confiscated player passports (yes, this happened at an event). Check out gamers paradise. One of the craziest stories in esports.
Gamer’s Paradise

Well that’s part 2, I’ll create a part 3 in a few days along with a post mortem or a sample lessons learned for esports event. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out! I’ll be happy to answer.

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