WePlay! Esports displays speed and flexibility against COVID-19. Two tournaments and two successes in two months
Oleh Humenyuk and Anton Gribovsky talked about the success of WeSave! Charity Play and WePlay! Pushka League Season 1 at ESI Digital Summit.
How did we create a charity esports marathon in 16 hours and make a 23-day esports league successful?
The WePlay! Esports team knows the answer to this question. And we shared our experience at the ESI Digital Summit, an international esports business conference. Over two days, May 26-27th, the hottest topics of the industry were discussed.
The pandemic shocked everyone, but esports were not so affected by its negative impact. Our creativity and responsiveness helped WePlay! Esports make quality tournaments even during quarantine, said company general manager Oleh Humeniuk and VP of Sales and Marketing Anton Gribovsky.
Oleh acquainted the audience with all the intricacies of the WeSave! Charity Play tournament: how we created it exceptionally quickly and how we managed to gather talents (commentators and presenters) exclusively on enthusiasm. Anton spoke about the new Dota 2 league – WePlay! Pushka League Season 1.
“We are delighted to share our knowledge, especially in the current difficult times. By doing what we love, we turn challenges and complications into new opportunities. After all, we raised funds to fight against the coronavirus for people around the world. In essence, we established a new league for Dota 2 and proved the maturity of esports as an industry,” says Oleh Humeniuk, General Manager at WePlay! Esports.
WeSave! Charity Play: every hour mattered
Pandemic, quarantine, and border closure – only speed, creativity, and flexibility could handle these factors. The goal was significant – to hold a charity esports tournament to collect donations to fight the coronavirus. And the analytics shows that everything worked out.
The decision to hold the event to concept creation took 10 hours. We had only 7 days to perfect our concept before the first live broadcast day. From the moment we invited the talents to support the tournament, until their landing in Kyiv, took 12 hours, and 12 hours following their arrival, borders and international flights were closed. As a result, 24 bright teams, 41 talents, and 188 thousand dollars were donated.
Our general manager worked as a driver
Extreme organization speed required extreme solutions. Since the tournament was charitable, talents had to work pro bono. The only thing WePlay! Esports could promise was hospitality to a high standard. Flexibility during a pandemic was our main challenge because its organization was built primarily based on complete trust, before working with these teams had been only remote. In one night, we managed to recruit and buy tickets, and for the sake of a common goal, everyone acted as “for themselves and for that guy.”
“When transport throughout Ukraine was paralyzed, talents from Kherson and the Dnipro had to be driven by cars. And I was the driver who delivered them to the Kyiv studio,” says Oleh Humeniuk, General Manager at WePlay! Esports.
What about security?
These were the first weeks of the lockdown. There was no panic, but everyone understood the risk. Therefore, for the duration of the tournament, we provided maximum safety to talents. All the requirements were fulfilled even when masks and antiseptics were in short supply. There was also medical support.
Another challenge was to find the most precise and understandable mechanism for raising funds. It turned out that the only way to do this was to develop our own software, which we also successfully completed.
“The project has become successful. WeSave! Charity Play has become the best tournament of today. We managed to gather the best teams and organize a decent show. Esports has proved itself to be a full-fledged industry that is ready to accept challenges and help society,” adds Oleh Humeniuk, General Manager at WePlay! Esports.
WePlay! Pushka League. The longest tournament, our own Groundhog Day
Less than a month later, the first season of the new WePlay! Pushka League started – the longest tournament in the history of our company. It lasted 23 days. We managed to create something niche and completely new: an image of Ivy League environments in esports. It was very contrasted compared to WeSave! Charity Play, but this was both a chip and a challenge.
Some team members joked that the tournament was similar to Groundhog Day, but we managed to quickly switch, adapt, and create a unique product. The competition was attended by 22 teams from Europe and the CIS, among them also the champions and vice-champions of The International 2019, as well as multiple champions of other major international tournaments.
“You should never stop at the achieved result. Have a successful charity marathon? Well done, super, drive on. So we did, and very quickly organized the longest WePlay! Esports tournament in history,” says Anton Gribovskiy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at WePlay! Esports.
The pandemic was already in full swing, and the only option for us was the studio broadcasting. This is what fans, players, and Dota 2 teams were counting on during the quarantine period. This was possible thanks to careful preparation. At the same time, we have kept and fulfilled all obligations to sponsors and partners. The show became vivid thanks to the design and details in the studio, although it is difficult to find all the props in quarantine mode. Of course, this would not have been possible without great AR solutions. Evaluate our results for yourself.
“The crazy mix of parts from different worlds that we recreated is in our DNA. We combined the classic story with the world of electronic sports. And most importantly, we were able to realize our design idea into the smallest details. It was spectacular,” comments Anton Gribovskiy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at WePlay! Esports.
Viewers evaluate the result
WePlay! Pushka League received a massive number of views by American viewers and showed quality under trying circumstances. The tournament was officially covered by studios and independent commentators in Russian, English, Ukrainian, Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, French, German, and Spanish. Reuters, Forbes, and other leading mass media from many countries wrote about the tournament.
Total: over two months, WePlay! Esports managed to hold two completely different tournaments. This is not so easy for a team located on two continents.
At the same time, no one had canceled the lockdown. Everything was possible thanks to the 360-degree approach – this is the desire to unite different parts of the world around the love of esports. And this desire is fulfilled by being in five parts of the world, with five arenas, five offices, through five languages, and one large team. The risk of coronavirus and financial loss is high, but an even more significant challenge is to seize the opportunity. This value united us during the crisis – and everything was successful because each participant is a valuable link in these tournaments.