Competitive gaming really comes to life at a physical event, and while putting on a tournament can be hard work, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Read on to find out what managing events like this entails.
What does an event manager do?
Event managers are responsible for ensuring a particular tournament or esports event is delivered as expected. That might mean it generates certain viewer numbers, ticket sales and a positive reception from fans and the press, or if there are particular difficulties that arise, just making sure the event goes ahead.
This role is similar to a project manager or product manager, but is obviously purely focused on putting together a great event or series of events.
It’s an incredibly varied role – as event manager you’ll need to liaise with many different teams, from production, to external partners and stakeholders, venue management, marketing and sales to name a few. Some businesses may be required to juggle all of the above themselves.
Event managers may need to come up with new ideas, solutions and ways of making the show work, even when faced with challenges and directions. They will likely have to manage a team, budgets and timescales, research venues and suppliers, book equipment, hire contractors and be mindful of health and safety.
They will also want to make sure everything is technically organised, for example all the systems are set up correctly, the internet is working as it should and stands and other physical elements are in the right places.
What skills you need
Event and project managers need good organisational skills, and the ability to multi-task effectively.
As they will be dealing with a lot of things at once, having good communication and creative skills helps, as does being able to work under pressure and hit regular deadlines.
Having technical skills can also help if a system has gone down, for example, and it needs to get fixed as soon as possible.
Some of the event manager skills crossover into sales, marketing and agents, in that they will need to be good negotiators and planners. There are many events courses available to study, and work experience placements that can give you experience and help get your foot in the door.
Of course, there are event management courses available, but having that passion for esports can also go a long way, as it can in other roles too.
Michael Hirst, chairman at Kitacon, explains: “There is no specific qualification I can mention that would springboard someone into a project manager role. I certainly am not from a project management background, but I am supported by a wonderful team that makes everything come together.
“While I’d highly advocate a working background in esports (even as a volunteer), I feel that passion and desire to grow the scene and as a person have potentially more weight to succeeding in any esports job role.”
Hours and salary
Working hours are generally dependent on when the event is happening. Managers may work usual office hours, but put in a lot extra time in the run up to events, potentially including evenings and weekends. The role will usually involve a lot of travelling too.
While in the planning stages, work can fix into standard weekdays, a lot of esports events take place on weekends, so event managers may be required to be available at additional hours, depending on the event itself and what work is needed.
“Weekly working hours can fall into the standard 9 to 6 weekdays, but events can throw all of that out of the window,” Michael says.
“In the run up to large events, be prepared to work constantly and be contacted by your company, support staff and partner companies at all hours. Expect very early morning starts and very late finishes for practically a week.”
Salaries can vary greatly in events. Ballpark figures for professional esports event managers can range from £16,000 to around £30,000 depending on the company.
Looking at event management in general (outside of esports), junior events staff might earn around £17,000 to £21,000, according to the National Careers Service , with more experienced staff earning £25,000 to £40,000. Top events gurus can earn £50,000 to £80,000, but bear in mind this is for events as a whole and is not esports-specific.
An events salary can also include commission, for example if the event has hit certain targets.