ESL Builds eSports Studio in UK With Ross Video
In less than a generation, the video games industry has risen to become even more popular and profitable than the movie business. Online gaming, in particular, has exploded and given rise to eSports: a video over IP platform that sees teams of gamers compete against each other in leagues and tournaments that are broadcast online to audiences of thousands. At the forefront of eSports is ESL, a gaming network with 15 studios around the world that brings gamers, analysts, pundits and fans together to enjoy the excitement of tournaments, competition, and big prize money.
ESL’s UK studio operations are hidden away on a quiet and inconspicuous industrial park in Leicester. With room for several teams of gamers, commentators, and an audience of up to 100 fans, the largest studio broadcasts three to four times a week and includes a range of products from Ross Video.
“We made the jump to Ross in order to simplify and improve our workflow,” comments Sam Deans, ESL UK’s Production Director. “I’ve worked in broadcast for a number of years and I understand the value and importance of high production values. We wanted to take a step up from our previous equipment and create slicker and more professional-looking broadcasts, but also wanted to ensure that these broadcasts could be easily and consistently run by the people on the team who aren’t broadcast engineers. This is where DashBoard has been a lifesaver for us. We worked with Ross to create customised DashBoard panels that enable anyone on the team to manage one of our broadcasts. We are not a huge team so we all need to be flexible and multitask; Ross has really helped us to simplify our operations and deliver fantastic looking results on screen.”
ESL’s studio in the UK is similar to their facility in Cologne, Germany. Both use the Carbonite Black production switcher and all on-screen graphics are provided by the Ross XPression platform. NK routers and DashBoard, Ross Video’s open source control interface, help complete the system.
“We’ve been delighted at how scalable the system is,” remarks Deans, “and we’re already thinking about how we might introduce augmented reality into our broadcasts. The level of technical support from Ross has been first-class and has given us great confidence to expand and build on our system. It’s great to know we can grow and be even more creative and still get everything we need from the one company.”
“eSports is a rapidly growing business; as an industry we expect it to be worth around $1000m within two years,” comments James Dean, ESL UK’s Managing Director. “We’re not a traditional broadcaster, however the expectations of production values are ever increasing in-line with the size of the industry currently serving over 150 million viewers. The versatility that Ross Video solutions offer have been crucial in helping us deliver extremely high quality content in our unique production environment.”