Ever wondered how esports events run so smoothly? Well, tournament admins are the unsung heroes behind the scenes that ensure tournaments are put on without any major hitches.
In this guide, we look at what it takes to be a tournament admin, and how you can get kickstarted in this role.
What is an admin?
Tournament admins are in a sense referees in the esports world, and will record the outcome of matches, make sure that the players are sticking to the rules, and hand out penalties if any rules are broken.
Admins will keep an eye on the teams playing during a live event to ensure that each player is doing what they are supposed to. Working closely with teams and players are crucial as an admin, as you are their direct contact if any issues arise.
Alongside making sure that the players are sticking to the rules, admins may be required to help with the setup of equipment at a tournament, testing servers, chasing up teams and making sure that everything runs on schedule.
With this, if a technical difficulty happens on stage or in-game, the admin is responsible for dealing with the issue to get the tournament back up and running as quickly as possible.
What do you need to know to be an admin?
Having an in-depth knowledge of the tournament rulebook for the event is crucial in ensuring an admin can effectively do their job.
By having this knowledge, you are able to act fast to resolve any issues that occur and get the tournament back on schedule.
On top of this, you need to know how to effectively communicate with a variety of people. Telling a team that they are disqualified can be incredibly difficult, so having a calm and professional approach is something worth developing in order to prevent the situation from potentially escalating.
Communication stretches wider than this though, and links with making sure everyone is comfortable with what they are doing. Running through procedures with players pre-game and post-game will make all the difference, and boost your confidence through communicating effectively. As well as looking after players, tournament admins will also put out any fires that may occur between teams and players – so it is vital to be able to work under pressure to ensure there are no delays.
Knowing the ins and outs of the title you are an admin for is also important, as you may need to resolve a problem in-game at a moment’s notice. Having this technical knowledge will come in handy, and showcase your ability to work to resolve issues under pressure.
How do you become an admin?
There are many ways to get started in a career in esports, with a lot of opportunities in the UK being very hands-on.
Volunteering is one way to start if you are only just beginning your journey as an esports tournament admin. This way, you can get valuable hands-on experience and develop your skills on the job to help pave the way for your career.
Tournament providers are always looking for an extra helping hand, the larger the event the bigger the demand, so put yourself out there to get noticed and learn more about the role.
Moreover, junior positions are always available in the industry and are another way you can get your foot in the door. Keeping up with job postings and approaching organisations can allow for opportunities to arise – so always stay on the lookout and see what can be right for you.
Starting small is also something to remember when getting into a sector of esports, because any experience is valuable and will help you land more opportunities through your career.
Even helping out a local organisation or team with a small LAN can be invaluable experience to allow you to work up from there.
Having a good understanding of tournament systems like Battlefy and Challonger (a few of many) will also make your journey to becoming an admin a lot easier.
Advice from current admins:
Closer to home, we have several amazing admins for the British Esports Student Champs, all of whom dedicate their time weekly to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
We asked a few of them about their experiences as an admin, and their advice for anyone looking to get into the role.
“Being an Admin in my opinion is akin to being a healer/support in most games, it isn’t flashy but without you things just won’t go well. It is, however, a rewarding and fulfilling role, especially when you see the events running smoothly and the participants enjoying their experience, especially at live events.
You have to be on your toes when developers shift their patch days, release patch notes/rules or any game breaking bugs are discovered to ensure everything runs as smoothly as it can.
My advice to anyone looking to become an Admin is to enjoy the game you are covering, remember to stay impartial during seasons, organise and delegate issues (don’t try to tackle every problem yourself if you have a team with you) and lastly, show your love of esports by letting your passion shine through.”
Nathan ‘SirSquark’ Badger, Rocket League admin for the Student Champs
“Being a Champs admin has been a unique experience, especially being at the live finals. You get a real peek at what life might be like if you were running world finals for the League of Legends championship or something similar.
For those wanting to get started as a tournament admin, as basic as it sounds, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the game(s) you’re looking after – that includes keeping up to date with the latest patch notes, staying on top of known bugs and also understanding basic tournament formats such as swiss or round robin.
I started just as a player in university esports tournaments, which got me interested in supporting players and teams of such tournaments behind the stage, behind the big screen. If you’re not sure where to start, I would definitely recommend just getting stuck in at any level, pick-up experience both as a volunteer or a participant.”Jasmine ‘JorangeJam’ Hong, League of Legends admin and Operations Executive for British Esports
“Basically what I’ve found being an admin is that everyone is super helpful and it really is just a good group of people wanting to run tournaments, so that others can enjoy esports without it being difficult or hidden behind a wall.
I’ve never once had an unfriendly response when asking questions, which was really useful when starting out because I always felt like I could approach others with any queries or problems. Questions were always welcomed along with any ideas you might have to streamline things or make them smoother, so this experience made me more comfortable to speak up in any scenario.”Rae ‘TheLyon’ Lyon, Valorant admin for the Student Champs
“I’ve been an admin for just over 3 years now, my first real experience of it was when I volunteered at i64 to be one of the Overwatch admins (although I hadn’t done admin work before) I had helped organise teams when at university so clearly those skills were positively received in my application.
Essentially from there it’s just been about building up contacts and reaching out to various organisations to see if I can help, and this experience eventually landed me a full-time esports role.
My main piece of advice would be if you’re interested in pursuing this, just volunteer lots, build up your contacts in the industry and who knows where it could take you but be prepared to invest a decent amount of time into it.”Matthew ‘Rinqed’ Payne, Overwatch admin for the Student Champs
Want to know more about being a tournament admin? Check out this Women in Esports panel with Stacey Holbrook and Jasmine ‘Veracity’ Kanuga where they talk about their developments in this sector.