NSG Summer Championship Wrap Up

John FazioNews & Events

Dear NSG Fans,

I want to start by thanking you all for supporting us for these past 4 years. We are nothing without our community and fanbase, so we do everything in our power to produce the best possible event for you all. After 2 dozens successful events in our cramped North Philly warehouse we decided to take a risk and step up to a much larger and more capable venue. In typical NSG fashion we bit off more than we could chew and then learned how to chew it. At the end of the day, the event ran smoother than any of our other events, and we are now confident in our ability to take advantage of larger venues without losing the authentic LAN atmosphere that you all have come to know and love. We had more than 500 people at the venue while the stream peaked out at a live viewership of 23,000, our company bests. We have learned a lot and are committed to improving the experience with every event we throw.

I’m going to bullet point out some of the lessons we learned below, but before I do that I want to thank all of the staff and volunteers that contributed to the event this weekend. Rob’s production and branding magic are the reason our venue and stream look the way they do. Ed (Eddie Knives) ran a beautifully executed CS:GO tournament, keeping things running smoothly despite the slew of issues and late teams he had to deal with. Joe ran another flawless SC2 event, while Bill and Kyle produced our Hearthstone and Rocket League events without issue. Our casting talent blew the roof off as they always do and I couldn’t be more proud to have Boq, Topical, Scrawny still in the family after all these years. Temp0 and feardragon crushed it on the SC2 stream and I look forward to continuing to grow with them both. Andres was an absolute professional running a clean production for SC2 without incident, while Mr.Kim wore many hats and helped to produce the Hearthstone and RocketLeague streams. Our volunteer staff including Mr. Kim, Jennisis, PlurO, Sev, Sinful, Holden, mrmathew, dopey, sir snipeys, moxie, execule, zayhan, sky, and everyone who helped them were amazing and we wouldn’t have been able to pull off the event without them. Thank you again, you all made this happen!

Lessons Learned

  • Food & Beverage
      • This was the first time we have offered food and beverage at one of our events so it was a major learning experience. With absolutely no experience, we took a guess at what price point and cuisine our fans would enjoy and it was clear we could have done better. While the cuisine was upscale and the food was delicious, the price point was too high and we lacked the variety that our fan base wanted. Lesson learned. Our next event will feature an expanded and more affordable menu with more snack options. We will also be selling prepaid passes that will provide you a college-campus-like meal plan for the weekend so you can pay ahead and not worry about what to eat during the event. I floated this idea to a bunch of you this weekend and it seemed to be well received.
  • Staffing and Ticket Prices
      • One of the principles that Steve has built our event series Fragadelphia on is to maximize prize pots and minimize producer fees. As such, 100% of all Fragadelphia entry fees for every event we’ve thrown to date have gone into the prize pot. However, now that our event has grown and our staffing needs have increased exponentially, that is no longer sustainable. We went into this event incredibly understaffed and it took a toll on our team. We set up and broke down the event with a total staff of 5 when it should have taken 15 people. We underestimated the additional work a venue and production of this size requires and will need to hire a larger staff for our next event. To afford this, we will begin retaining what we hope is a reasonable 15% of the registration fees to pay additional staff members. While our prize pots may not grow as quickly as they have at first, we’re confident that the success and exposure of Summer Championship will bring us the sponsors needed to bridge the gap and continuing increasing our prize pots.
  • Scheduling
      • One of the very few complaints we received was around scheduling. Teams that were forced to play late at night and then early in the morning rightfully felt frustrated. While I am empathetic the reality is that this is something that traditional sports and virtually all weekend competitions have to deal with. There is no way that we can produce a perfect 3 day schedule that avoids any tough situations, so that is part of the LAN and something you as a competitor have to deal with. However, I think we can do a better job of providing a transparent schedule further in advance to the tournament as well as building in time spacing for delays. We want our events to be as predictable as possible for teams, players, and their managers so we will continue to improve in this area. In exchange for our commitment to improve, cut us some slack and recognize the realities.  
  • Amenities
    • I think that for our first event, and at a $10 spectator entry cost, the console & VR lounge area was received very well. Moving forward, however, I think that we can drastically improve the experience of spectators and competitors by providing additional amenities. For our next event we’re going to increase our amenity offering with plans to include more consoles, more VR rigs, arcade machines, racing/flight sims, and more private rooms for spectating and eating. We’re also working with our hotel partner to increase the amenities available at the hotel for our guests including more frequent and time appropriate shuttles.   

There are many more things we have learned internally that we will continue to improve but the areas above are the ones that have the most impact on you our community. As always we welcome your feedback and would appreciate if you filled out our quick event survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/m7ijLBUKBcfO6aN02

Thank you all, can’t wait to see you again at our next event!