How Big Data Can Help Organizers Improve Esports Events

September 12, 2018

Something the esports industry has understood for a while (and something this is only now becoming clear to many outside of the industry) is that people attend esports events for more than the esports. Yes, of course, the games being played are a major draw, but attendees also come to congregate with other like-minded fans. In this respect, an esports event is more like a concert than a traditional sporting match.

Photo Credit: Fortune

However, this means that esports event planners need to anticipate this need and create areas and activities that accommodate this desire for collaboration. Fortunately, event planners have access to unprecedented amounts of data, which can enable them to deliver events that are simultaneously larger and more personal than ever before. This data also provides event planners and managers the tools to adjust on the fly.

It is an extraordinary level of control and one that is too often underutilized. What follows is a look at some of the tools and techniques that can help esports event planners best utilize big data.

Tools of the Trade

RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)

Already popular at many large events, RFID will be more common at medium and even small events. Using RIFD can help shorten entry lines, simplify purchases from vendors, and help personalize experiences.

For example, while wearable tech allows ticketed attendees to check-in at kiosks, it is now possible to bypass registration entirely with radio frequency floor mats that scan attendees as they walk. This will allow for check-ins with no wait. But that is simply the start for the possibilities of this tech.

With geo-fencing, a virtual perimeter tracks attendees via RFID, and ads or special activities can be directly targeted to specific attendees based on their preferences or location at any given time.

As RFID technology becomes more ingrained and fine-tuned, it will deliver bigger and better analysis of event attendees. This data will make it easier to determine what worked at a given event, what didn’t, and – most importantly – why attendees responded one way or another. Best of all, this data can be monitored and collected by event organizers.

Photo Credit: Neap Event Solutions Australia 

Proximity Sensors

Along the same lines as RFID tech and geo-fencing, proximity sensors enable organizers to provide attendees with a location-specific experience.

Attendees are sent content and alerts to their mobile devices that directly impacts the experience they are having at the moment. By receiving immediate, location-specific content, organizers can create instantaneous, personalized events.

This technology can also make navigating the show floor much easier, especially when it is combined with another technology, like…

Augmented Reality

This technology will not be anything new to most esports fans, but how it is utilized at events can still surprise.

A great example is the augmented reality Elder Dragon that flew around The Beijing National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship.

However, augmented reality can be used in subtler, but no less impactful, ways. For example, when it is combined with proximity sensors, the tech can be used to add step-by-step, real-time directions on a user’s view of the real world making it easier to get from point A to point B (currently by using a smartphone’s camera, but AR glasses are going to be widely available in the not-to-distant future).

Yet, that is just scratching the surface of the possibilities. The gamification possibilities are limitless. Plus, exhibitors can take advantage of the technology to create animated and interactive signage and advertisements.

Thanks to all the tech, attendees can have an event experience that is uniquely their own.

Photo Credit: Mario Stewart LinkedIn

Customized Event Experiences

Depending on a person’s location, he or she could be notified about a contest deadline that’s rapidly approaching, a special event that’s about to occur, or a special offer from a nearby vendor.

They could even have relevant material that’s tailored to their profile and relates to a nearby vendor, booth, or area pop up on their mobile device. Gamification elements can also be adapted to each consumer, again based on his or her profile.

This can be especially useful for experiential marketing activations. Experiential marketing is a campaign that tries to forge an emotional relationship between the customers and a brand by positioning a product or service in a memorable way. When executed correctly, this type of marketing delivers an experience to consumers that makes them want to participate instead of feeling like they are being pitched to. It has been described as advertising that is difficult to ignore but less intrusive than traditional efforts.

An example is The Riftwalk, an immersive experience that took fans through a physical simulation of many aspects of League of Legends.

Riot Games (the developers of League of Legends) envisioned The Riftwalk as a “Thank You” to the 67 million people who play League of Legends each month and the engaged community that has grown around the game. The exhibition made its first appearance in 2016 at PAX East in Boston. It was then toured to each location of the 2016 League of Legend’s World Championships: the kickoff in Toronto, Canada; the two-week group stage event in San Francisco, the quarterfinals in Chicago; the semifinals in New York; and the 2016 World Championship Tour Finals in Los Angeles.

Fans waited hours for a chance to tour The Riftwalk. Before entering the exhibition, visitors were given a bracelet containing a microchip. These RFID wristbands allowed attendees to reserve spots in advance, register their favorite character, and share their favorite parts of the game by filling out information online. During the event, the RFID wristbands would trigger monitors in each station of the exhibit and present content related to the attendee’s registered information – allowing fans to share their experiences on social media.

The Riftwalk is a snaking path through the Summoner’s Rift, the main battleground map where League of Legends matches take place. The journey included several photo opportunities:

The visitor’s RFID wristband connected to each of these photo ops. The final product was edited together and sent to attendee emails as a professional quality video.

“The event production company came in and set this whole thing up in about a day,” said Jess Frucht, the Creative Support Program Manager at Riot Games. “It’s an incredible effort, there are a lot of teams involved, there’s all the tech and AV and all the camera setups, which are extensive, like the bullet-time camera setup.”

This tech not only created an impressive experience, it was also able to make a visitor’s journey through The Riftwalk a more personalized and engaging expedition.

Real-Time Modifications

An essential part of an event planner’s job is determining what worked in an event and, perhaps more importantly, what didn’t so that it can be corrected at the next event. Well, by utilizing real-time data, what used to take event planners a year to accomplish, can now take place within minutes.

For example, if a specific area is getting less traffic than was anticipated, it is possible to analyze the data to understand what is appealing to your attendees and why. Then, by making adjustments to digital signage and employing other digital techs, like an event app, it is possible to make areas and attractions more appealing on the fly.

Improved Crowd Control

Thanks to real-time monitoring, it is easier than ever to monitor foot traffic and watch for dead areas and bottlenecks then determine what needs to be done to get traffic flowing efficiently. Additionally, simply gathering this data will help event planners smooth out future design patterns and traffic flow for future events.

For even more thoughts about esports event data gathering and how this can help improve exhibitions, give eGency Global a call at 972-323-6354.