I'd like to share something I experienced with you. Hosting an eSport event in our office has been one of the best decisions I've made this year that has helped with all of the following:

  • publicity on a budget;
  • word of mouth advertising;
  • giving to the community;
  • inbound website links (SEO);
  • staff motivation;
  • branding;
  • BBQ's.

If you're a boss, read on. If you're an employee who's into eSports, read on and then show this to your boss.

Without further ado, here's the 3 main reasons why hosting a Starcraft 2 tournament was absolutely beneficial to VroomVroomVroom.

1. Passionate customers and an ROI better than Google Adwords

I spend $30,000 a month on Google AdWords where the ROI is around 100.5%. It barely breaks even. The tournament cost us only $300. So for less than $10 a head, that bought us 40 walking, talking brand advocates. Even if they never rent a car in their life (they will), when their friends and family do, I know who they're going to recommend. Sponsoring normal sporting events isn't the same. In developed sports, sponsorships are expected. In eSports, I'm not sure what it is, but gamers are seriously passionate about events and they truly value the sponsors. They WANT to promote you because they WANT to have more tournaments. In my experience, this doesn't happen when sponsoring other more traditional events.

2. The online marketing benefits are more than I ever expected.

SC2 Tournament

My business compares car rental prices online. It has NOTHING to do with Starcraft or gaming. It doesn't matter. Here's what VroomVroomVroom got for its $300

  • Free links from all sorts of places. Google loves this.
  • Word of mouth promotion and people talking about the tournament, again mentioning the company http://www.sc2sea.com/showthread.php?t=5103
  • Crazy Facebook Love. Conversations that never ended. Increase in Likes http://www.facebook.com/events/353093838086773/
  • VroomVroomVroom logo and mentions/logo on many youtube videos with probably 1000′s of views (these are still being uploaded) It is important to find a caster with a small following on Youtube or SC2Casts.com to help with this.

I'd normally pay $500 for this type of online publicity. Actually, cancel that. Links are priceless. Money can't even buy links as Google do not condone link buying.

3. Staff motivation and retention

Staff who are gamers are thinking “oh man, this is the best place I've ever worked”. Staff motivation and retention are boss. I had a truck load of fun. Good entertainment value. Just this alone was worth the costs of the tournament. We hire software developers. Many of the competitors who attended were actually excellent software developers so we found a few new prospects.

 

Quick Tour of the office during the day

 

How we did it

  1. Decided on a date and booked it in. After uni exams seems to help get a good student crowd
  2. Gave flyers to local computer game stores and a gamer bar in the city. Here's the PSD of the flyer if you want to steal mine
  3. Published the event on various sc2 forums and on Facebook
  4. Brought big screen TV from home to watch games on in viewing room (our board room / kitchen)
  5. Arranged $100 for first place, $50 for 2nd. (this could have been optional, but it attracted some Grand Master players which was worth it)
  6. Arranged for esky full of Coke, BBQ sausages and bread and a selection of sauces
  7. Setup Starcraft 2 and tested all the machines the night before. We created “Gamer” user accounts on all the machines for security reasons and had staff make sure they had vital files stored in my documents of their own account
  8. Told staff to take home valuables and move the crap on their desks into the store room
  9. Setup an account on Binary Beast. This software helped run the leaderboard and told us who was playing next. It's free
  10. Found a caster for the day. We flew him from a different city as we didn't know any locals. Now that we know some, we probably could use someone local. He volunteered his time. Thanks again Duckville
  11. Labeled important things in the office. Desks with big numbers, registration desk, toilet (we labled it with Archon Toilet), game map list instructions. This helped people work things out for themselves. Made it much easier on me and the staff who were helping.

Summary

With around 32 competitors it was a good size for our office of 8 computers. It ran from 11am until 6pm. We paid for BBQ sausages and bread, prize money and merchandise. It was absolutely worth it and I strongly recommend other companies to host an eSports tournament of their own. Starcraft, LoL, Battlefield, Pacman, Halo, whatever, big or small, expensive or inexpensive. Worth it.

Photos

Video

Replays (search for player name) or download them in a pack here