Prima Group’s grand esports studio

01/22/2021

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In this week’s egtabite, we step into the accelerating world of esports and take an insider look at how media companies can embrace the segment. In the Czech Republic, the Prima Group built one of the largest and most modern esport studios in Central Europe to host the annual Vodafone Czech Championship in Computer Games and the Samsung Czech Championship in Mobile Games. The TV studio built for the occasion is 400m2 and includes a 23m long continuous LED wall, the largest yet to be shown on-air in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The two Championships tournaments took place from 13 to 29 November. Under normal circumstances, the contestants would have played in front of a live audience in a large stadium. As that was not possible, the organisers from the PLAYzone, Prima Group’s agency responsible for the event, moved the tournament into the spectacle studio and broadcast it through the HbbTV Prima Television stations, the Twitch platform and the Facebook page of Prima COOL, the media company’s TV station which is targeted primarily at young male audiences.

“esports fans motivate us to host bigger and better Championships every year. Last year, the Championship tournament took place in Brno during Life! Festival. It was attended by 52,000 visitors. Unfortunately, we will not be able to play in front of a live audience this year, so we focused on production. We want to prepare the broadcast similar to the world’s largest competitions. This year’s most prestigious Czech esport tournament awaits and we have prepared several gadgets that cannot be seen in other Czech esports competition,” said Lukáš Pleskot, Executive Director of PLAYzone, before the tournament started in November.

The enormous LED wall allowed viewers to enjoy the tournaments from all angles. A total of 10 cameras were used for the broadcast, including a crane camera. During breaks, video game analysts offered their perspective and dived into recent gameplay using on-screen pencil boards – similar to what viewers of traditional sports are well familiar with. The mobile game Brawl Stars and PC games of Counter Strike: GO and Hearthstone, in which Czech players are considered among the world’s best, were among games competed in. After around 80 hours of esport broadcasting, the Championship marathon was concluded by crowning the PUGB champion, a popular online multiplayer game where players fight to the last man standing.

Panelists
Audience in room

The spiking popularity of esports in TV

The popularity of esports has grown significantly in recent years, as matches in all sorts of video games have attracted viewers in the masses both online and to stadiums, where tens of thousands of fans gather to watch the best players compete live. In 2019, Newzoo, a gaming market research company,  reported that revenues of esports exceeded $1 billion globally while attracting more than 443 million viewers across the globe, only to see a spike in popularity in 2020 due to the Covid crisis.

Media companies have paid attention to the emerging segment, as demonstrated by Prima Group’s initiative to host the Czech Championships. In total, the two tournaments generated over 1,7 million views. The most viewed match, the finals of the CS:GO tournament, had 12.806 viewers at its peak, or 187% more than in the previous year.

And the winners of the 2020 Czech championships in computer and mobile games? The most successful team was Entropig, taking home 2 gold medals and a silver. A team called SINNERS dominated the CS:GO tournament and Sampi. Tipsport won the Brawl Stars tournament.