I’ll try to organize this post as much as possible, but for the most part it’s just going to be a stream of thoughts I’ve had about an online tournament I’m hoping to put on within the next month or so (depending on the Blizzard ladder status).
If you’re a player and you’re just looking for information about what the tournament will be like, I’ll include that information first so you’re not bored with all of the business aspects of the tournament. Also, keep in mind that everything I say is subject to change upon feedback.
The tournament will feature 16 players. 8 of them will be drafted in from the NA ladder, similar to Totalbiscuit’s 2012 Shoutcraft America Winter event. The other 8 will be high-level Koreans that I’ll be looking to invite. I’m going for top-tier Koreans, so I’m hoping I’ll have the prize money to draw them to play.
People trying to qualify from the ladder must be playing on a non-barcode account (from the beginning, no name-changing a barcode account after you’ve made rank 1) but they can be from any region around the world. The only requirement is that they must be a top 8 ranked ladder player who’s ID matches who they are.
Groups will be 2 invitees and 2 Ladder qualifiers per group. That’s right, expect foreigners to get rustled over this format. I know there’s going to be some resentment here, but I want a killer 8-man bracket. If you don’t think you can beat any Koreans in this tournament after qualifying then you will never make it out of group stages.
For prize money, it’s hard to say, but I’m hoping to boast a $2000-$3000 prize pool. It could be less, it could be much more, it’s really hard to say at this point.
Okay, moving on from the information players are looking for, let’s dive into the meat of this post.
“The Destiny Invitational”
I’m not very attached to this name at the moment but it’s probably what I’ll be going with. This tournament will be a departure from my normal shenanigans in that it will be a very serious tournament. No bikinis, toned down sillyness and humor, no gimmicks. There will still be the usual casting humor etc…, but don’t expect this to be full of offensive or crass humor.
The base cost for the event is probably going to be $800.
I’m looking at paying $100 for art (slides between games, count down screen, “be right back” screens, brackets…basically what you see when you’re not looking at SC2. Promotional art is possible as well)
I want to pay $100 for a bilingual admin. Someone who can do map vetoes, host games, and speak Korean and English fluently. Communication between admins and Koreans at a lot of tournaments can be pretty iffy due to language barriers and I hope to make that as seamless as possible by using an admin that’s actually bilingual.
I’m going to try to get a different co-caster each day, and I’ll look to pay casters $100 day for about 6 hours of casting work, depending on the day. I haven’t thought too hard on who I want to choose for casting, but right now I have a tentative list in my head of people I want to invite to cast whom I’ll be sending notifications out to tonight to gauge interest. I’ll keep you updated on who I’m able to secure for this event.
The rest of the money will be distributed to the prize pool. Top 8 players will be paid (everyone who makes it out of groups) with 1st place taking home 37.5%, second taking 18.75%, third and fourth getting 9.375% and the remaining getting 4.6785%. This means, with a $3,200 prize pool, 1st would get $1,200, second $600, third-fourth $300 and fifth-eight $150.
Data collection from players
This isn’t really relevant to you, but I’ll be looking to collect Skype names, battle.net ID’s, paypal info, twitters, team names/races from each player in the tournament.
In looking at scheduling I’m trying to prioritize player comfort over optimal viewing hours. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to go, but here’s a tentative time table for the tournament:
Group stages, 4 players (ABCD) per group. I went with a less traditional format here because it always bothered me that you could get fucked in a group stage just because you can’t beat one player and you end up running into him again in the same group. This can lead to tie breaker problems, but if three people in a group finish 1-2 then we can flip a coin and play sudden death.
EST/KST Match (all games bo3)
1400/0300 Sudden Death match (if needed)
EST/KST Match (all quarterfinal games b05)
EST/KST Match (semi-final games bo7, finals bo9)
These times are a little late for conventional people, but I figure Korean pro-gamers are probably used to staying up a little late, and it’s not so unreasonable to ask foreigners to be ready to play by 10 AM, so I’ll stick with these times unless I get significant kick-back.
Nothing too out of the ordinary here. I’ll be posting about this regularly on the starcraft subreddit and via twitter. I’ll make another post when the format is finalized and I’ll look to Teamliquid to get the event listed on the calendar as well. Getting front-paged by Twitch would be really nice, too, but I’ll need to reach out to some contacts for that. I’ll be looking to make use of Twitter a lot, both mine and the people playing, as well.
This is obviously the big part of all tournaments – how do you get money? I’ve had a few ideas on funding, some unique, some that everyone’s done.
- Affiliate links. My current links with Amazon, Ting and Dollar Shave Club all generate decent revenue for me, so I’ll promote those super hard during the tournament.
- Twitch + Youtube ad revenue. This money is “meh”, but every little bit helps.
- Sponsorships. I’ve already had a few people approach me who seemed interested in contributing to the event, so I’ll look to reach out to as many people as I can here, potentially some new companies if I can, but it’ll be hard with no solid numbers behind me.
- I’ve thought about doing a $100/day sponsorship deal where I’ll let a streamer pay me $100 to link their stream at the end of each day of playing. It’s not huge money, but if I get 6 different streamers who think the shoutout/potential traffic is worth it, that’s $600 taken care of with no sponsorship commitments, and it’s more tied to the community than simply plugging a product as well, which is nice.
- Kickstarter. I might go this route since this is the first tournament as a way to raise the initial capital, then fund the remaining tournaments with the revenue I (hopefully) generate from this one.
Just to restate, I know this post has been extremely disorganized. It’s more just a stream of thoughts that I’m collecting feedback on, then I’ll refine it into something more readable/easily digestible to the masses. Here are just some random thoughts I’m having in regards to hosting this tournament -
- How separate do I want this tourney to be from my own, personal brand? Do I want to get personal sponsors mixed up in this event? Should I be looking to get personal subscribers via my website for this event? The downsides being I sort of commit myself to doing future events, but the upside being I strengthen my own brand and build upon it. I’m also not sure how much money I should be looking to scoop from the event, if it’s profitable, vs how much I should be reinvesting. I’ll give a full breakdown of the numbers after the event, regardless of what I decide, so you guys can see how profitable/disastrous the financial side of things ends up being.
- If this tournament is successful, could other people easily emulate the model? I don’t know how important it is that the “Destiny” name is attached to this for it to succeed, versus just having a random person bringing together a ton of talented Koreans and casting their matches as they battle for $x,xxx.
- I want to see how the personality vs Korean theme plays out here. With the format I have planned, I’m definitely favoring the talent vs the marketable “foreigner” side of things.
- Monetization is a huge thing. I’m curious if this format can turn a profit, how much profit it can turn, and what can be done with that money in the future. Maybe there’s a live event somewhere down the line if it manages to be successful enough…? But that’s far, far off.
- Translators…I’m going to be very big on having a translator that’s very much into Starcraft 2. I don’t want to insult any other Korean translators that have been used at events but the lack of game knowledge really bothers me sometimes. There were a few times where Todd was trying to ask Trap some questions concerning gameplay but Smix was completely and totally missing the questions, and the answers she was giving back to Todd had almost no relation to the questions he was asking. I’m hoping I can find someone who’s bilingual who’s able to assuage those problems.
That’s all I’ve got for now, I look forward to all of your feedback and ideas.