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Frame by Frame: A Technical Breakdown of Esports Tournament Broadcasts

Esports Tournament Broadcasts

Esports tournament brought in a combined online audience of 532 million people in 2022. That’s 140 million more people watching than in 2019. Despite growing appetites for esports, competitive gaming has yet to penetrate mainstream media like traditional sports. Nonetheless, esports has remained a pioneering presence in the world of online streaming. The first boom time for esports came around the same time that Twitch was launched to the market. Since then, this streaming platform has helped shape esports broadcasting into what it is today. However, despite some exciting advancements in VR and AR technology, the bare bones of an esports tournament broadcast have remained largely unchanged.

Venue Essentials for Broadcast-Ready Esports Tournament

The esports sector brought in global revenues of more than $1.87 billion in 2022. With enough high-profile talent and some lucrative sponsorship deals, even a modest-sized tournament can yield big returns for an organizer.

With esports becoming more mainstream in recent years, there’s been a significant increase in the number of specialist venues for competitive gaming tournaments. In the United States, few venues come close to the HyperX Arena Las Vegas. It’s one of the largest purpose-built venues of its kind on the planet, with dedicated production and broadcast facilities on hand.

While the likes of Valve have the capital to retrofit traditional venues for esports events, the rise in accessible purpose-built venues is opening things up to grassroots tournaments and talent. However, even these facilities aren’t available to everyone.

How Does Esports Broadcasting Differ From Conventional Sports?

Sportscasting has come a long way in the last few years. While sports like football and basketball have embraced new technologies, these have largely focused on things like 4K resolutions. In esports circles, it’s frames per second that count. At the highest level of professional esports, it’s not uncommon to see players opting for fresh rates of 144Hz or higher. In fact, it’s the bare minimum that’s required for first-person shooters like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty. At a major esports event where organizers need to cut between player reactions and in-game action, a HDMI connection won’t suffice. Instead, advanced digital display interfaces like DisplayPorts (DPs) are required.

Who Makes the Magic Happen?

When it comes to behind-the-scenes talent, there’s some crossover between the world of traditional sport and competitive gaming. Esports organizers themselves will likely come with a ready-assembled team. These include a team of producers, technical managers, and studio operators. Writers will also need to create scripts for hosts and commentators.

However, this core team of upper management barely scrapes the surface. Sound and camera operators will need to be hired, along with lighting and AV technicians. Experienced floor managers, high-profile commentators, and in-game observers.

While many roles can be filled by people without specific experience of esports, others demand very particular expertise. In-game observers are one of the most invaluable parts of any tournament. They need to have an intimate knowledge of the games they’re observing, as well as familiarity with the esports broadcasting environment. Instant replays are now a staple of esports tournaments, with replay operators a sought-after role. Once again, in-depth knowledge of particular games is a must. Ideally, replay operators should be well-versed in a wide range of hardware and replay systems.

Have you missed your chance at securing a ticket for the next International? Perhaps you’re keen to see how your favorite Tier 2 team is doing. For the latest matches and event fixtures, head to

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