- Crowd Funding
- My website
The Indiegogo I launched for the tournament was a massive success. I was able to cover all of the costs of the tournament in a single Indiegogo, and there was even $409 left over to fund a future tournament, if I were to have one. After seeing the viewership numbers for this tournament, that's a definite yes.
Indiegogo funding data
There was about $5,500 raised from the Indiegogo when you account for the final fees it cost me to send the money to the players and workers I had organized for the event.
- It's very easy to raise a large amount of money via crowd funding without having to bend over backwards to please a sponsor. It only took 281 people to fund this an entire tournament. That's only 1% of the people who were watching on the day of the finals.
- It also means less restrictions on the tournament, since I won't have to include sponsor logos on artwork and shoutouts during downtime. Unless there's a particular sponsor that I feel very, very strongly about, I think I'd prefer to stick with crowd sourcing as an exclusive means to funding the tournaments from now on.
- The fund-raiser itself can be used as part of the hype for the tournament. People get excited to see the Indiegogo go up and it generates conversion about the tournament, especially as the Indiegogo both reaches its goal and comes to a close.
- I think funding my second tournament with an Indiegogo will be much easier than this one, and I think I can shoot for a higher dollar amount (maybe $10,000?) since the concept has already been at least somewhat proven.
- It's very, very important to manage your image very carefully while crowd sourcing a tournament. I think the potential to be seen as a 'beggar" or a "charity case" represents a real threat to the image of the tournament and the person/organization hosting it.
- You have to be very transparent with your finances. For me, personally, this isn't a con as I enjoy high transparency, but some people may be uncomfortable if they realize how much money is going into the hands of casters, organizers, artists, etc...I think that this con can easily be managed with the proper dialogue (as most negatives in life can be unless you're inept with your PR - I'm looking at you, MLG) between the organizers and the community.
- When you crowd fund, you don't get to build relationships with sponsors that could otherwise come in handy for other projects down the road.
- The perk system, although it can be nice in raising money, means more commitment from the organizer (me, in this case) to deliver on promises that may not necessarily benefit the tournament itself. This means, inevitably, time taken away from organizing the tournament to issue out perk rewards. I'm not sure if I'll want to do message read-outs in between series anymore, though they do add a unique flair to the tournament. I also have yet to fulfill the lesson scheduling perk.
- As I said earlier, I think I'll try to crowd fund the entire next tournament. I don't think there's much I can change in regards to crowd funding as it seems to have been a huge success.
- One thing that I have to consider for future tournaments is "How much money do I want to make running a tournament?" It's a difficult question to put an exact figure on because some people might feel the amount I make would be far, far too high, leaving them unwilling to contribute towards an Indiegogo. Another potential problem is, say I decide I want to make $2,000 running a $10,000 tournament so I launch an Indiegogo, people may only fund up to $10,000 and leave the rest unfunded, thinking "Well, that's literally just money I'm donating to Destiny anyway!" It's important that I convey enough personal value in order to justify whatever amount I end up deciding I want to make for putting together a tournament like this so that there's not public resentment for crowd funding my salary.
- If you contributed to the last tournament, will you contribute again to the next?
- If you didn't contribute to the last tournament, will you contribute to the next?
Sponsorships for this tournament were pretty much charity contributions in the beginning, to be honest. No one that approached me with a sponsorship opportunity had any idea what the viewer turnout was going to be for the event, so I was very grateful when some did approach me.
As a reminder, the sponsors for my tournament -
I was able to raise $1,800 from sponsorships for this event. Since the tournament was fully funded via the Indiegogo, this is money that I can essentially pocket as my "take home" pay for organizing/casting the tournament.
- Obviously the more sponsors you raise, the more money you get. This eases the burden of trying to crowd fund the tournament.
- The connections you build with sponsors and your ability to advertise and show a real return for sponsors establishes valuable networks and connections down the line.
- It can hurt the feel of the tournament artwork to integrate logos and branding.
- You can be somewhat restricted on content depending on what sponsors you have.
- Awkward scenarios can arise where you're promoting brands/sponsors of a tournament that conflict with other players' teams and potential casters. Would iNcontroL have been able to cast in my tournament if Red Bull was a main sponsor?
- I'm not sure if I'm going to reach out to sponsors or accept sponsorships for the next event, although I may change my mind based on how the crowd funding goes.
- My engagement with most of my sponsors was very good for this event, I feel. Most of them were happy with how the event turned out. Again, this doesn't mean too much in regards to future partnerships as these guys were all pretty much donating the money to the tournament.
- The "viewer hand-off" perk might be something I'll look into further on down the line. It seems like I could easily raise the value of that "perk" to say, $200 or even $300. Some streamers that have never had more than a handful of viewers found themselves with an audience of thousands. I think there's an opportunity to market this in the future to easily secure $1,000+ for the next event.
I was pretty disappointed with my interactions with KeSPA. Having their players for my tournament would have been a large bolster for viewership and support. It also could have lead to some potentially amazing games for me to cast as well.
I'm trying to be very careful here in how I proceed with this because "2014 Destiny" is a Destiny who tries to maintain good relationships with every section of the community. If this was "2011/2012 Destiny", though, I would be absolutely roasting KeSPA for my interactions with them for this tournament.
Courtesy of Chuddinater, my KeSPA contact
This first tournament that I did had a decent amount of risk associated with it. I heavily integrated everything into my own brand, so if the tournament itself was a disaster it would reflect very poorly on me and I would have no one to shift the blame onto. I also crowd funded a majority of the event finances, so squandering the community's money would mean I'd have a hard time raising money for a second time and I'd also damage my reputation significantly in the community.
For KeSPA to deny their players the ability to enter into an online tournament where they could potentially win money seems...strange, to me. I understand I have something to benefit here from using KeSPA players, but it's not like KeSPA was taking on any risk by having their players play in my event. If anything, it's just denying their players the ability to earn some extra money, something every gamer at a high level would like the opportunity to do.
I also don't like that KeSPA expected me to take on 100% of the risk for the first tournament and then contact them later for a second of third one. If I take on all of the risk in producing and hosting the first tournament, without any help whatsoever from them, why would I let them into the next one...? It might come off as petty to some, but it seems a bit arrogant to tell someone you'll hop on board a project after they've laid out the entire framework themselves.
I still have a lot of thinking to do on whether or not I'd want to bring KeSPA players into my next event.
- Having KeSPA players at my event would almost undeniably bolster viewership.
- KeSPA players at my event would make it a bit more relevant to the overall scene. Koreans who were previously uninterested in my tournament might become interested.
- Building good relationships with KeSPA open the doors for a lot of things down the line, including access to their players/media networks.
- I hate that they completely skipped the first tournament because they were "worried it wasn't worth their time" and then might jump in on the second one.
- I don't like to condone selfish and damaging behavior in the e-sports community.
- I'm still not decided on how I'll approach this issue.
I was very, very, very happy with how viewership turned out with this event. I had originally posted some very conservative estimates on what I was expecting viewership to be, and I didn't even think 10k+ was possible on the 9th/10th. So all in all, the viewership was absolutely phenomenal, compared what I was expecting.
Here are some stats for viewership -
Maximum concurrent viewers from my stream alone
- Group 1, Tuesday - 13875
- Group 2, Wednesday - 12232
- Group 3, Thursday - 15708
- Group 4, Friday - 12524
- Group 5, Saturday - 18561
- Group 6, Sunday - 22085
According to the fuzic stats tracking website, Destiny I peaked at 27,604 viewers across all 5 streams, making it the third most popular Starcraft 2 event on Twitch.TV this month, going by maximum peak concurrent viewers.
I would have never dreamed of having numbers these good after only my first event. I'm incredibly grateful for everyone who tuned in and I hope you guys had as much fun watching this as I did putting it on.
I had the Twitch.TV chat locked for pretty much the entire tournament in an effort to get people to utilize my website more. I really like the chat system crafted for me (courtesy of my web designer, CeneZa, and the chat developer, sztanpet). I prefer HTML5/websockets a trillion times over anything flash-related. I also think my chat offers better features (tab completion on names, highlighted text if someone is talking to you, auto-loading of previous text if you enter chat, just to name a few) than Twitch's so I wanted to heavily promote it.
I had really decent conversion for people actually watching from my website, I think. During the finals when I had about 20,000 people I saw around 6,000 actively in my chat, which I think is awesome.
- Increases awareness of my personal website.
- Higher chance to convert casual stream viewer to a personal fan if they enjoy the website and the community.
- Careful control over moderating my own chat. I have the ability to IP ban people if necessary, something I don't have in Twitch's chat.
- Stability is better in my chat with more people typing in it vs Twitch chat. Flash is absolutely terrible when you scale it up to the thousands of viewers.
- A lot of people who don't want to view my site may just sit on Twitch and never participate in the chat at all.
- There are still some people who in the world who believe reading with a black background is hard on the eyes. ._.
- I'll probably base whether or not I exclusively use my site's chat on community feedback.
I'm including a little section here on the planning/work that went into coordinating the tournament since more than a couple people have called into question the amount of money I made. It feels a little awkward justifying this because I feel incredibly lucky to be making a living doing video games, period, but I do think $1,800 was an entirely reasonable amount for the work I did, if not a little on the low end.
I threw away one of the notebooks I was sketching ideas out in. This doesn't include all of the notepads I've got on my desktop with information/ideas scattered across them. The pages laying here are all covered back to front with information/ideas/thoughts about the tournament.
I was the sole person responsible for putting the tournament together. I did all of the planning. I coordinated with the artist (MinnyMausGG, who did an AMAZING job!). I gave direction to the website developer. I set up the Indiegogo. I submitted the TL calendar links. I did 100% of the production and streaming (save for the day Totalbiscuit helped due to lag issues). I was the sole point of contact for the sponsors. I procured an admin who could speak fluent Korean and English. I coordinated with several foreign casters so that they could cast my event (and make money off of it without owing me anything). I coordinated dates with several team owners and players so I could maximize the amount of invited players I could have playing in my tournament. I reached out and invited the players I wanted for the tournament. I put my own name behind the tournament and risked my own brand to make sure it went off successfully.
It sounds really petty of me to write it all down like this, and I'm not trying to sound haughty or arrogant, but I did a bit more than "just casted 6 days" to get this tournament working properly. I'd throw the .txt's I have sitting on my desktop but a lot of the original information is lost since I was heavily editing them throughout the tournament.
If you feel like there was something I missed or some more data or information you want, feel free to leave it in the comments below and I'll address it and edit my post accordingly. Still functioning on very little sleep, so I'm sure there's some information I missed.