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PGC Digital: ESL UK's James Dean on running esports events without a physical audience

"Embracing change is absolutely imperative"
PGC Digital: ESL UK's James Dean on running esports events without a physical audience

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #2, ESL UK CEO James Dean gave a talk on the impact on having esports events without an audience.

Dean started by outlining the primary impacts of lockdown on esports, including the shift of tournaments to an online-only environment, being unable to bring players together, and an immediate loss in revenues from the lack of both consumer and B2B revenue streams.

But one big change is a huge increase in viewers on Twitch, with Dean noting that the ESL had seen a "two and half times increase" in viewers, possibly because people are missing live sports and are looking for new avenues to get their fix.

Going virtual

One of the ways that the firm has changed its approach to running events is by partnering with production company Dock10, which created virtual sets and has been working on plans such as highlight shows with these virtual sets.

Other ways of changing things up included offering analytics platforms to all viewers, and integrating an interactive extension with live, synchronised data and a player performance index directly into Twitch - all of which was unique to the ESL.

Wrapping up, Dean stated that "embracing change is absolutely imperative", and suggested companies need to innovate and pivot to ensure that their esports remain viable in the future.

PG Connects Digital #2 is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from June 8th to the 12th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place through the week here.