Hey there :)
When I organized LoL-Parties for gamescom some weeks ago many people came up to me and said “You’re so lucky – we don’t have bars like that in [where they came from]”. My usual response was: “We didn’t have one either before we started this ourselves!”.
What I’m trying to say: If you want events like these in your hometown: organize them yourself! Of course it’s some work but not too hard!!!
Since LCS Worlds are coming up I thought I’d write a short “HOWTO Bar of Legends” guide for people willing to organize this! Maybe some more events will pop up :)
First Steps SelectShow>
- Check if there already are events like this in your local area, maybe you just don’t know about them (google it and look for it on facebook)! League still isn’t big enough to supply several events per city (unless its HUGE one) so the Community should focus on ONE event organization per area. The other way you could end up with several events and none is visited well (and if none of them works out for the bars this could be early death of such events in your area)!
- If there are local LoL- or Gaming-Communities, Clans, Guilds, Teams, esports organizers, tournaments, LANs contact them ALL!!! You can use every help possible, be it visitors, promotion, sponsors or whatever.
- If you build a team of organizers (which makes some things easier, others harder) here are some roles you could assign:
- representative (talks to the venue owner, press & stuff)
- social media guy (posts on fb, twitter, reddit & co; keeps community hyped and on track)
- esports expert (keeps track of upcoming tourneys, knows the scene, teams, players, community sites, etc)
- some guys doing the graphics, website and tech stuff (like wiring, pc trouble, stream problems, sound…)
- Make sure you’re NOT doing this because you expect money!!! If you are: better clean tables or do ANYTHING else because the amount of work you’ll put into this will NEVER pay off financially (not for you at least- probably for the bar)! Many organizers never see any money, some even pay a rent to get the bar and LOSE money! The few organizers who do get some percentages of the sales reinvest them in webspace fees, flyers, goodies for the visitors, t-shirts and maybe business cards to show at some convention (to get sponsors or something) etc etc… Sad but true: if you’re not doing it for the fun you shouldn’t even think about doing this at all!!!
What to look for in a bar SelectShow>
- The bar should at least have one (better: several) HD-ready screens
- Best case: not showing any sports (sports events might conflict with our events. It’s hard to find a bar with screens and without any sports though)
- Broadband internet connection. Don’t ask me for speed… maybe >6 Mbit at least…? I know people who did events via 3G/UMTS which is about 7 MBit. We have 50 and still experience lag some times (can’t be our fault though). Test the bar’s internet on http://www.speedtest.net/ BEFORE you plan anything else!
- The main purpose of BarLoLs is ofc the meeting of the Community but it also brings eSports (and gaming) to public places, raises awareness for its existence and respect for it being competitive just regular sports. It shows “normal” people we exist and fights the prejudices of gamers not leaving their homes, being antisocial, fat and smelly ;). So if you have the opportunity try to get the main room of the bar so people that walk by conincidentally can see what you’re doing. If it’s not possible a back room is okay, too – it only serves the Community and not eSports in general though.
- Side notes: cheap prices for drinks & food (younger visitors need their money for skins^^), good public traffic connection, parking spaces and so on. Additionally, the bar should NOT demand an entry fee for visitors! There will definitely show up less people if they have to pay, even it it’s only a dollar.
How to convince the owner of the bar SelectShow>
- MOST IMPORTANT: MONEY! If the events work out you can continue doing these and it might become a constant source of income for the bar. This can be multiplied if you raise visitor numbers or offer themed drinks/food (Red Buff Cocktail, Teemo Mushroom Soup, Lulu Cupcakes – be creative!)
- Name some statistics like stream numbers (700k for OGN finals), player numbers (30 mio actigve players)
- Tell/Show them how professional competitive LoL is (several leagues & tournaments worldwide, prize money (2 mio $ for LCS Worlds), Finals in Staples Center, maybe show them the production quality via VODs and so on)
- Worldwide interest in these events (http://league-event.com/; ofc this is just a small amount of the actual number of interested people)
- Talk about the positive atmopsphere, nice community (in RL people ARE nice! Trust me!!!), noone stressing out (no bar brawls ^^), the opportunity to get new regular customers and so on
Find an event to show SelectShow>
- The more attractive the event is the better. This rule does apply even more for your first event. You have to show the bar people will actually show up so visitor numbers are never as important as this time!!! LCS Worlds is probably the best opportunity – showing some progamer stream probably isn’t ;)
Preparing tech stuff SelectShow>
- If you have some kind of automatic 24h-disconnect remember reconnecting your internet BEFORE the event starts!
- If your venue has open wifi reduce its speed (or even turn it off completely). An event with 100 nerds using their smartphones WILL harm your downspeed!!!
- Connect your streaming PC via LAN CABLE (not Wifi). Wifi isn’t stable in a crowded bar!
- Use screens as extended screens, do not mirror your main screen. It looks unprofessional and takes away the opportunity to do something else (like social media stuff) on the pc while the stream is running.
- Use one dedicated browser for streaming (usually firefox) and another one for browsing so the stream window does not interfere with you browsing at the same time.
- Check (and update) all software, plugins, windows & co on the day of the event.
- Check that everything works out in the bar a few hours before the event. If something suddenly breaks you might have a chance to still fix it or ask people for help.
- Check that the projector and pc are safe (no food or drinks close to it), hide keyboard and mouse after everything runs smoothly
- Prepare all important bookmarks in your browser before the event (lolesports.com, streams on twitch/youtube/azubu, leaguepedia, etc)
Promote your event SelectShow>
- Create a facebook page (you can also create a group but a page should be mandatory!) and optimally a website for non-facebookers! Post all your event data (date, time, address, infos for parking spaces, how to get there with public traffic, etc) on all your sites.
- Think about also creating a twitter account and promote here. This won’t help you too much in the beginning but it might later on.
- Post in forums of leagueoflegends.com, gaming communities, on reddit, in facebook groups and so on. Some local radio or newspaper might promote your event, try everything!!!
- Contact your country’s League of Legends facebook page, they might will share your event or promote it (“League of Legends Germany” does this – I don’t know if this applys for other countries as well).
- Write an email with your event-details to league.event(at)gmail.com so it can be displayed on http://www.league-event.com
- You can spread flyers but make sure to spread them at places where nerds might be around (computer stores, comic book stores, LAN-cafes, nerd conventions, anime meezups, board game clubs, etc).
- Invite local esports personalities, players, teams etc. to your event. Maybe they will show up, maybe they will “only” promote your event.
Final Step: Do an awesome event!!! SelectShow>
- Greet people, introduce yourself, talk to people during your event!!! Find out how they found out about your event (you can focus promoting these platforms for future events), ask for constructive feedback (now or later) and so on. TL;DR: Don’t be an ass, you’re the organizer and a representative of your Community – treat everyone with respect (especially the regular customers that just come by and don’t know what the hell is happening in “their” bar)!
- Tell people to adress you if they dislike something ASAP (distracting lights, projector isn’t sharp, etc)!!! Some things can be adjusted immediately and people won’t flame on facebook after the event is over^^. Some things can’t be changed – explain it transparently so people understand (Pro Tip: if there’s lag it’s always twitch’s or the tourney-organizer’s fault ;)! If lag persists on multiple sites…well, you’re fucked I guess :D
- If twitch lags switch to azubu/youtube. If there’s not enough chairs get more. If there’s not enough people: you did something wrong in promotion, you’re okay to cry now :P
- If you have gear to raffle (like from Riot or sponsors) make contests! Examples could be Cheerful-Contests (people have to draw something – you have to provide pens and paper), betting games (people, have to guess who’ll win), champion dance battles or voice imitation contests. The easiest way is simply printing lottery tickets and doing a lottery (this way you also know how many people showed up to your event).
- Be sure to make photos of the bar, people, the contests and everything during the event. Visitors love them, the bar loves it and I guess Riot does, too ;).
- First of all thank your visitors on facebook, twitter & co for their attendance!
- Provide the photos you shot on fb, website & co
- Ask for feedback – it’s crucial for improvement! Be thankful especially for negative feedback!!!
- Talk to the owner of the bar. Was he happy with the number of people that showed up? With the amnount of money they spent? The big boss has to be happy – if he isn’t it might have been the last event of this kind in his bar (and – depending on his reputation – maybe in the whole city).
- Analyze feedback and the talks with the owner and think about where you can improve, are able to or even have to change. Over time we introduced new Cocktails, brought additional screens to the bar, repositioned couches and screens for a better viewing experience, made unique posters people could win and so much more…
That’s all what came to my mind so far. I’ll update this list when additional things come up :)