The Costs of Hosting an Esports Event in 2022

What Esports Bring to the Table

Esports audiences and revenues are increasing more every year. Estimations have the festivities growing in size through 2023, topping over one billion dollars.[1] Esports companies are hosting more and more tournaments than the days of local LAN competitions at game stores. This is thanks to the demand increasing for higher budget events, but the market would get stale if newer games didn’t hit the competitive scene. 

While League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter Strike are staples of what most people think when they hear “esports”, Overwatch, Super Smash bros. Ultimate, and Valorant coming out fuels fans and spectators alike. Players and gamers alike have sparked the success of the biggest esports tournaments ever that continue to expand in scope today.[2][3]

What are Esports

Esports is used as an umbrella term just as much as sports is one. It can cover fighting games, first person shooters, MOBAs and card games or really anything with a competitive edge. Teams or individuals compete head to head in tournament style brackets to decide who is the best out of the event. However, one doesn’t run the same event for a baseball game the way you would a karate tournament. Big gaming tournaments like EVO aren’t run the same way DreamHack is, and for clear reasons. These reasons will determine how one’s esports event will be managed and where costs will primarily go for success. 

Photo by Josh Berendes on Unsplash

Managing the Costs of an Esports Tournament

Esports events are an entirely different monster than your average sports tournament. The equipment is more expensive, staffing takes a different approach, and there aren’t decades of professional skeleton systems to copy and paste for your event. 

Costs for an esports event run around an average of $667,750 on conservative estimates.[4] But that assumes high-end PC equipment is needed. What if it’s a Smash Bros. Melee tournament where GameCubes and copies of the game (although still expensive as far as GameCube games go) are significantly cheaper?[5] Well, that’s a cut cost. But wait, to get the top pro Melee players you’ll need to increase your prize pool.[6]

This type of back and forth could go on almost infidelity with the number of caveats involved. So it’s best to attack the goals one wants for one’s event and build around making it successful. 

Prize Money

Whether grand championship or prelim, establishing the prize money is an important step. How many players/teams get money? Unless you’re determining the next best Dota 2 team, prize pools might not exceed $100,000 (unless it is then in which case millions are going to be spent).[7] There is no set average earning for esports players and by extension, winnings average per tournament. It depends on what game is being played and that game’s audience.

Fortnite has almost 5000 competitive players with minimum tournament wins being over $8,000 and running over a total of more than 110 million dollars.[8]

It’s important to analyze the popularity of the game being played by the size of the tournament (players involved) to determine the final size of the prize pool.

Player Accommodations 

Flights, hotels, venues, cars, food? What are you providing and what is clearly stated the players must coordinate themselves? The more one provides, the more prestigious the tournament presents. However, the costs do go up in no insignificant way. Providing hotels alone for a large tournament can get up in the thousands:

100 players x $200 a night x 3 nights = $60,000

Unless there is a deal with a local hotel, swapping those numbers around will net somewhere between $10,000 $90,000. 

Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash

Staffing

Another huge portion of your budget should go to staffing the event. Again, depending on the size, a gigantic team of people might not be needed. When you take into account how many third parties could be involved in an esports event along the lines of multiple teams, venues, managers, and sponsors, there are dozens of people that need to help coordinate such chaotic energy. Here are some important must-haves for a huge tournament and one could cut positions narrowing down to the size of importance;

-Event Managers

-Social Media Managers/Promoters

-Broadcast Directors and Assistants

-Adjudication

-Sponsors/Representatives

-VIP Guests

-Translators

-Photographers

-Merchandise Sellers

-Medical Staff

-Security

-Equipment Managers

-Catering

-Janitors

-Volunteers

Finalization

Before finalizing the goals set out for the video game event, compare the tournament to others of its size. What went wrong here or there or what could have been improved on? The first event doesn’t mean improvements start during the second installment. There have already been hundreds of different-sized esports events held. Learning from them will help one’s esports event or esports company hit the ground running.

Struggling with any of the above elements? Getting additional help can also improve one's chances of success. If you’re thinking about hosting a local event or the next biggest esports event, SimStaff has the skills and experience to guide you to success!

Let’s make something awesome together.

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