Esports — Why Is It Important and What Makes Its Productions Unique?

By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital on December 18, 2018

Esports continues to rise in prominence, with traditional networks and leagues increasingly involved in efforts to get engaged with the esports community.

At the 2018 SVG Summit, experts in the field of esports explained the uniqueness of their production workflows and explored important questions: What is the role that esports will play alongside traditional sports? How do esports productions and operations differ from a stick-and-ball sport’s? And what does esports mean to sports media at large?

The conversation featured Jamie Leece, SVP, games and VR, Major League Baseball; Mitch Rosenthal, head of production and operations, Riot Games; Marc Scarpa, founder of Simplynew; and Ben Winter, interactive coordinating producer, Turner Sports/ELEAGUE. The session was moderated by SVG Chief Editor Jason Dachman.

Watch the session in its entirety:

Here are some highlights from the discussion:

Generally speaking, live productions of esports events are massive undertakings with challenges and opportunities very different from those of traditional sports. Winter and Rosenthal share the biggest differences:

One of the unique aspects of esports is that fan interaction and immediate feedback via comments are a part of the culture and, in many cases, impact the direction of the production taking place. Winter, Leece, and Rosenthal discuss how fans are a part of the conversation and how production storylines can progress based on direct viewer feedback:

One of the biggest developments in esports in 2018 was the emergence of esports-specific venues nationwide. One of the most significant launches was Esports Stadium Arlington, the largest dedicated esports facility in North America. Scarpa goes inside the details of the spectacular facility that’s set to change the esports market in 2019:

Turner Sports became one of the first traditional-broadcast entities to dive into the world of esports when it debuted ELEAGUE in 2016. Producing CS:GO, Street Fighter, and Rocket League competitions, the company has learned quite a lot in a short period. Winter explains how he has seen the brand evolve over 2+ years:

One of the biggest successes in onsite gaming activations this year was Major League Baseball’s deployment of Home Run Derby VR for MLB All-Star, the Little League World Series, and the Japan All-Star Series. Leece offers a taste of what went into those efforts:

With massive events and productions all around the globe, the use of at-home production models isn’t a cost-saving luxury for Riot Games, it’s an absolute necessity. Rosenthal offers a peek inside the company’s workflows:

This session has been sponsored by Dell EMC.

For more one-on-one interviews, highlights from conference sessions, and full keynote conversations and panel discussions, visit SVG On Demand.