Running Your First Esports Tournament — Part 3

So, how do you get people to join your tournament? For starters, make sure you launch details and registration at least two weeks before, so you have time to spread the word. Everything might start off slow, especially if you’re not known for running events just yet. Don’t worry though — especially if it’s a team tournament — because it can take time for people to get a team together, or to free up their schedule so they can compete. Instead of biting your nails over how many people are getting involved, spend your time on showing that you’re actively managing the event and keep promoting it.

Get sharing your event page — Don’t just share once, keep sharing and asking your friends for shares and likes. If you want to make your tournaments a regular thing you’re going to have to fight to get the word out. There’s so much happening in gaming that it’s all too easy to get drowned out, and people who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing can miss the memo. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Get busy on social medial — share your event page to your community members and ask them to share, as well as sign up. This may be your local Facebook gaming group that you admin, or your personal Twitter account. Just remember if you’re not an admin of a group that you ask before posting, you may be working for the community and making the tournament, but you never know if you might be stepping on someone else’s toes.
    It’s a good idea to explain that with higher attendance comes greater support from developers and more potential for sponsors to get involved. If you’re engaging a budding community this works well, because it’s something for the group to get behind.
  • Start building an email list — try collecting email addresses when players and teams sign up to compete. You already know they’re eagre to participate and improve, as well as build the scene. Just don’t forget to ask first, and let them know what you’ll use their email for. I’d suggest only emailing twice (on launch, and one reminder) whenever you run a new tournament.
    Flicking them a confirmation thank you email when they first sign up, then a “have you told your friends?” type email a few days before registrations close, is a great way to show positive communication and encourage word of mouth.
  • Message your gaming friends — the biggest thing in marketing for grassroots gaming is word of mouth. If you’ve got a great web of gaming friends, your tournament is in good hands! Keep at them to tell all their buddies who play the game your tournament is for, and start a web of personal conversations about it.
  • Join forums and other types of groups (steam for example) — all the best esports games have official forums, as well as dedicated fan forums. Most all of them would be happy for you to share your local esports event. Just be aware that if you’re getting big and starting to charge for entries, they may become less open to your promotion.
  • Visit local internet cafes & universities — often these awesome places will let you put up flyers and posters, especially if your tournament is a community initiative to try and bring people together in your local area. Get creative, visit a few places and spread the word. You should also share your posters with friends to cover more ground, and share ideas of where to put them up.

Give regular updates — Whenever someone registers, make a pinned post or update confirming it, and add a counter to that post to show everyone how many teams have signed up. This will show anyone visiting your tournament pages that you’re serious, and that the event is growing. It’ll give them faith that others are interested, and they’ll be more likely to sign up.

Now that you’re working hard on spreading the word, it’s time to sort out exactly how you’ll execute your tournament on the day. Communication is the key to running a great tournament, and we’ll cover all that and more in Part 4!

Until then, game on :) and remember to enjoy running your first esports tournament.

Theo // Community Manager