The Importance of Specializing as an Esports Tournament Coordinator

Getting into the esports industry as an event organizer or tournament coordinator is hard, I can confidently say that much. Even with the experience of running your own events, something that feels almost mandatory without other transferrable experience, it seems so hard to get a job in the industry.

There are a few keyways, such as being an entrepreneur in the industry, having good connections or going through an application process. But you also can get hired by getting scouted out. Your question is probably how do you get scouted out as a tournament coordinator? This leads to the topic of discussion!

Specializing as an esport tournament coordinator or event organizer plays a huge aspect of being scouted out. When you run a multitude of tournaments under your field of expertise, and build a public portfolio to advocate your expertise, people become aware of your ability and your name is brought up as some companies look to hire.

This is something I have seen on several occasions, this actually happens in esports, although I am not sure how often. That being said, to do better in an application, specializing only acts as a benefactor to you. Why hire home repair guys for your leaky pipe when you can hire a plumber for the same cost? Similarly, why provide a contract to any tournament organizer for your Fortnite event when you can hire a tournament organizer who specializes in Fortnite tournaments.

 Are there any other player bases that are largely composed of kids and have iconic dances that have become extremely popular in communities? It goes to show the uniqueness of each video game community (some more noticeable than others) that just add on to the benefit of specializing!

Now that I introduced you to a bit of the benefit of specializing, let us go into more depth of what that means in terms of esports and event organizing or tournament coordinating.

What it Means to Specialize

Specializing simply means to become an expert on something, to know everything about the topic and concepts in relation to the subject matter. A specialist would know all the small details of something that others would miss, and how the subject with fare under certain circumstances.

In the context of esports, a specialist has a good understanding of their subject (we will get to what the subject should be). They should know what to do in certain situations and how to deal with the worst-case scenarios. It is also important to understand when you have to make a choice that all outcomes lead to repercussions and you need to decide which of the choices will be the best suit for the specific context. For example, if you were running a Fortnite tournament and one person’s computer turned off during a game, do you restart the game as normal? Do you discard that player and let the game play out? Do you restart the game with the remaining players? For each option, the context determines how detrimental it is to competition and a specialist would know the best decision.

I can guarantee you that for most of the issues I listed above in context of different games, the FGC (Fighting Game Community) would react to solutions for those problems differently than the FPS (First Person Shooters) Community, which are all different from how the Fortnite community would feel about them. Picture from PEI Fighting Game Community website.

It is also very important for a specialist to know their respective fan base. At the end of the day, the fan base and your clients are what make your business sustainable, therefore it is super important to know generalizations of the community and how they react to certain things.

The unanswered question is what are you specializing in, and here is my recommendation: I recommend that you specialize in a genre of games and also become really involved in a specific game or a specific select few games from that genre, although this is not mandatory and not always the best case depending on the genre. All games in a genre are not the same, nowhere close, but the typical concept of their tournament structures and their general rules apply to most, if not all. Meanwhile, you should focus on understanding every game individually and become extremely invested in a handful or a specific game from that genre (depending on their popularity and your personal goals moving forward).

Why You Should Specialize

I already touched on this during the introduction, but I will go over a few more reasons why specializing in esports is beneficial.

One reason is to create a name for yourself. By running a lot of events for a specific game or genre, you will be known as an avid and experienced event organizer in your specific location. I know a guy who got hired by AdrenaLAN hosted by RedBull as the League of Legends tournament coordinator, not by applying but by organizing a lot of League of Legends tournaments and being recommended by an employee there. What an amazing opportunity and a great way to get into the business.

Another benefit would be that you are more favourable for contract-based jobs and publishers of that game or companies looking to focus on a specific video game title. Like I said before, you would not hire a home repairman for a leaky pipe over a plumber for the same price. A plumber specializes in his craft, while the home repairman does everything. Obviously when you want multiple parts of your house redone, a home repairman is not a terrible option, but you stand out when you specialize in something.

Not to mention that specializing allows you to get the knowledge to cope with any problem or situation, as you are aware of them prior to going into it. Each genre has its own set of typical rules, think how different battle royale formatting is from card games and sport games. At the same time, each game is just so different, so learning each game individually but applying the collective knowledge of the games in the same genre is how you will become an expert at your craft. You will be able to resolve most issues as you are well educated on all different factors compared to a general organizer who is unaware of how an on-spot decision about the tournament rules would affect the outcome of participant satisfaction. It could be a terrible call that makes no sense in that specific esport scene, but a general tournament organizer would not know.

With that all said, it is still important to know the general formatting for each genre and the specific rules for the larger esport games in case that information came valuable to you. You may be put in a situation where someone has a League of Legends related question, and as a tournament organizer you would have to know how the tournaments work for such a popular game to keep your credibility. The list of the best games is included in the bonus.

How to Become a Specialist

Now that you know the value of specializing, you have to know how to become one! First, you need to decide what genre you want to specialize in. Check out my article that links to other articles that breaks down the top esport genres and their respective games (COMING SOON). From there you can learn in-depth information about each genre, breaking down the specific tournaments related to those genres and the uniqueness of each game.

Once you decided what genre and games you wanted to do, its time to do your research. Lucky for you, as I mentioned before, the article I referred to (COMING SOON) breaks down exactly all the rules for all the top games per genre. I have done all the research for you; You just need to read the content and you should be set.

After, you will need to start running tournaments for the games in your genre. Online tournaments are a safe bet, especially if you have not run an esport event before. If you have, jumping into events is your best way to learn all about the genre and games while making a name for yourself locally.

You need to continuously run new tournaments, for a handful of games but focus on one or two specific games to truly become the expert on. Running events is the best way to learn, and do not be afraid to take risks and experiment.

While you do this, it is very important to take input from your participants regarding your event, the format and the rules. I know someone who attended a Toronto esport tournament (which I will not name for privacy sake) that ran a Fortnite tournament. He felt like the tournament was unfair and did not allow players to accurately represent their ability. This was because this tournament had its group-stage composed of 2 games. His first game he got really unlucky, although he placed highly on his second game but failed to move forward in the tournament. He said with one more game he would have easily moved forward, but because of a poor judgement call by the organizers he felt dissatisfied, and justifiably so. The worst part about it, the organizers do not even know because they did not ask their participants.

Give it time, your events will organically grow, and you will become better known in your community as an expert of the game and genre.

The Different Genres for Esports

I list the different genres below, but my article breaks down each of them in terms of esports and a generalization to help you decide (COMING SOON).

  • MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)
  • Battle Royale games
  • FPS (First-Person Shooters)
  • Collectibles Card Games
  • Sport Games
  • Fighters
  • Turn-Based Games
  • RTS (Real-Time Strategy) Games

There are other video game genres, but these are the primary genres for games in esports. Click on any of the specific genres to gain in-depth information on each (COMING SOON).

Bonus: What Genres Are Best to Specialize in?

Although certain games are made specifically for esports, technically every game could be played as an esport with the right ruleset in place. Games like League of Legends, Fortinte, Call of Duty and CS:GO are some of the most popular video game titles to run esport events for.

The best genre is arguably MOBAs, being a huge cash cow for the esports industry. However, the battle royale genre is swiftly developing and creating huge potential thanks to games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile (hurray PUBG Mobile!)