Starting your very own eSports tournament: The FIFA Cups
Organizer of the FIFA Cup, Flash.hibidi (far right)
Have you dreamt of hosting your very own eSports tournament? Does the idea of packing hordes of zealous fans into your arena of choice appeal to you? Sore about the lack of exposure of your favorite eSporting title in the competitive scene and want to take matters into your own hands? Well that dream might not be as elusive as you think—it does however, require a fair bit of planning, resourcefulness, grit and a healthy set of connections.
As the organizer of the FIFA Cups, a series of FIFA tournaments that have occurred yearly ever since 2012, Wen Jun, who also goes by the alias Flash.hibidi (for those familiar with the local FIFA scene) endured his fair share of problems and skepticism when he first took to making his dream of the FIFA Cup a reality. Kicking things off at the humble Tough Cookie Gaming Café, the professional gamer was quick to remind would be organizers to start small and remain grounded—knowing why and who you’re organizing the tournament for is paramount in delivering a great tournament.
“I've always been committed to growing eSports in the country, so it's a nice feeling when you see new faces just starting out, because you're reminded of how you were once like them,” he said of his motivation. However support for your cause doesn’t come easy and one has to rely heavily on connections or be prepared to forge some in the process.
“You have to know as many people in the community as possible,” the veteran FIFA player iterated. Referring to the latest FIFA Cup tourney which was held at the Alienware Arena he added, “This year, I'm glad that we have the Alienware Arena on board. Chips (the owner of the venue) has been really supportive and is genuinely committed to growing eSports in the country. Many thanks to him.”
In the absence of which, would be organizers should not be afraid to dig deep and source for alternatives, and not only for matters pertaining to venue but for sponsorship and prizes as well. Alluding to his first attempt at a venue, Wen Jun revealed that taking a huge hit on locale consequently led him to compromise on items such as prizes and number of registrations, which as he remembers, was rather disappointing.
“You have to know as many people in the community as possible. The biggest problem I faced last year was hitting our target numbers for registrants. To meet my goals, I had to aggressively advertise on all kinds of forums, groups and pages,” he explained. With net cost of hosting a tournament perhaps the biggest worry, a good organizer will have to make sure his resource allocation plan has been well thought through.
But as solid a plan as it may seem on paper, no plan is infallible. “Prepare for the worst-case scenario. You'll experience computer crashes, internet disconnections and player-induced delays. So be prepared for everything,” was perhaps the best, most valuable advice Flash.hibidi could muster for anyone who’s contemplating running his own show.
Marred ever so slightly with faults and streaming issues at the beginning, the first ever FIFA Cup was a prime example of how unplanned difficulties can take a toll on the day’s proceedings. Failure to deal with which could lead to an unpleasant domino effect that could leave a bad taste in the mouths of the participants. But successfully overcoming the obstacles will make for an extremely rewarding experience.
Closing off Wen Jun was sure not to leave out some advice on dealing with sponsors too. “A truly successful tournament can only come about if your sponsors are generous,” he added with JFK flair, “so ask not what your sponsors can do for you; ask what you can do for your sponsors. Because only when you've met your sponsors' needs will they then attempt to meet yours.”
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