Question Time: Esports | What Makes a Good Event?

A question for the community regarding esports - what makes a good event in your opinion, from both a spectator and competitor perspective?

The sim racing landscape is changing. Recent times have seen an explosion in the growing esport landscape, with new series and initiatives springing up endlessly across the virtual motorsport genre - but what kind of product does the largest sim racing audience in the world want to see - the RaceDepartment community!

I'd like to gather your opinions on two distinct topics for this article, all featured around virtual motorsport in an esport environment -

Esports from a competitor perspective.
What type of event(s) would attract you to compete in an esport competition? Simply put, what features of an organised esport series / event would need to be in place to make participation an attractive proposition?

Esports from a spectator perspective.
Here we would like to know how an esport event would be ideally structured in order to make the viewing experience exciting and engaging for you, as a spectator. What type of broadcast, format, features, broadcast times etc would make esports an exciting viewing prospect, in your opinion?

Thanks for contributing folks! Sim racing (and esports) is awesome!

Sim racing eSport.jpg
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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.


I think events for competitors are good when they have good prices.

I compete at good level at spanish competitions, like ESL racing series and these competitions have good prices, media day, etc...

Wayne Hutchison

To be attractive to me as a competitor a series needs to 1) ensure that everyone who wants to participate can - ie. multiple splits if necessary, 2) long races that require thorough preparation and strategy including multiple pitstops - but not done with accelerated tire wear or fuel usage, 3) a rule set that requires drivers to stay on the track (no cutting) and penalizes vehicle-to-vehicle contacts, and 4) a variety of challenges - different cars and track types throughout the series.
Prizes. It rises the level of competition and makes people actually able to invest on it.
Remember a drone racing event called World Drone Prix, it boasted of offering $1 million as prize money. Because of the newsworthy prize money, all the press jumped on the drone bandwagon. What happened to it since? - does that sound similar to the Vegas eRace
Compare this to IFMAR Worlds, never offered prize money to anybody, doesn't get much attention apart from some R/C car hobbyist and it's still going for over 42 years. The Olympics never offered prize money to anybody either.
for spectator :
1/ i like the game
2/ level of drivers are good
3/ different cars are balanced, no need for everyone to use the same
4/ the game have a good damage model
4/ i like one or more drivers running in
5/ there is different strategies , perhaps somes that drivers have to adapt/take risks like weather, setting, etc...
6/ there is a good penalty system
7/ there is a good multiplayer ranking
8/ there is highlights, i like when the race is not played all on the first corner, 1h+ but sometimes i can't stand so much time in front of my screen. Maybe, speed up on some parts. Times when there is no fights/events or something are boring to watch.
9/ casters are good

for competitor
1/ the prize/salary
2/ he feels supported by the community
3/ healthy rivalry between drivers => with respect and friendship
4/ game/event/equipment is technically stable
5/ open to new players as they show they are good enough
6/ good atmosphere with organizers of the event, casters, crew, ...
7/ modable skin, every team/driver can play with custom skin.

Celtic Pharaoh

In the context of the SRO eSport GT series, I have two requests.

Break up the the categories as per the real series. Pro drivers compete against each other, Silver against each other and AM against each other and take the top driver from each category respectively or at the very most, blend the AMs and Silver.

Secondly, keep the playing field always equal, between all drivers, for all events. The decision to force drivers to drive specific group A cars or group B cars in Nürburgring was a bad decision and hurt the competition, and in turn ACC, especially when the competitors have to invest their personal money to be there.

I understand that there was likely pressure from either other manufacturers or the SRO as a result of the Spa Bentley farce. But the solution presented wasn't the right one. In future, if you want to insure a varied field, make drivers commit to cars from the start of the season. This will prevent drivers from picking the best horse for the course but at the same time also giving drivers the choice to drive a car that they're comfortable driving (e.g.: Front-engined, mid-engined, Porsche).

Those are my thoughts.
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From a spectator point of view, I don’t see much esports on racing games can offer for me. Watching a bunch of people on plastic wheels aren’t appealing at all when I can play my own one. At the same time, I can watch the real sport that is available mostly all year round that has real emotions, technology and drama.

Even if i want to watch esports, I’ll watch esports of games like Dota, Starcraft 2, R6 Siege and so on which are much more appealing and exciting.

The esports on racing games felt so forced at this stage while it has none of the appeal of the real motorsports or the level that other genre can do.
The GT Sport FIA races, World Tour events and the Finals (which are being held this weekend) are great events. Good production, good format, lots of action, clean and close racing, multi-language commentary and plenty of drama. They are just really well done and put eSports racing in a good light.

As a spectator I can relate by the fact that I have raced against lots of the drivers. A few of them I have known for years from the GT Planet forums. I do watch other eSports racing like the SRO/RD ACC races but don't make a habit of watching them live, whereas the GTS live events I always catch them live as I do F1, WRC and Blancpain. Being familiar with the competitors is a big deal whether in real or virtual motorsports.

eSports WRC and the DiRT championships are the wrong way to do eSports IMO. The WRC qualifiers are two-stage rallies you can run up to five times. And the Final is just a three-stage hotlap contest between four people. The DiRT qualifiers are a single stage and the Final last year was boring. Both events ignore the essence of rally. They should be long and tough rallies awarding concentration and car preservation rather than hot-lapping.

Anyone interested in racing eSports should watch past GTS FIA events and tune in to the Nations Cup final tomorrow, no matter what you think about GT Sport. Granted it's hard to put on the show that PD/Sony do with their deep pockets, but it's done so well that it's just as exciting as tuning in to a real motorsport event.

Lorenzo Bonder

Wah wah.
Organization wise:

- A decent prize pool. Gear is always good, but money is what makes people interested. Work with sponsors, a brand like SRO, FOM, FIA, NASCAR and ensure that the drivers that partake this league know what they're working for and it's solid, no chit chat bullshit.

- Ensure that you have an impartial and experient Race Control, to maintain race behavioral control from start to finish, analyizing thoroughly the penalties and hand out the punishments to the drivers when necessary.

- A possibility of a presential (LAN wise like) event, like the GT Sport WT, SRO ESport Series, WRC eSports and else. However, I don't want to see just 8-16 cockpits. Go for Formula 1 eSports quantity and gear quality, go get 20+ cockpits with the same gear. GTR24h like? If you going for endurance events, then yeah, but you have to stride to the number of cockpits and equipments enough to fill a well stacked grid. Imagine what could've been the iRacing Porsche eSports Supercup with 30+ drivers on the same gear on the same place at once?

- Time, effort, organization and motivation from ALL SIDES to present a polished and well constructed product to not just the public but also the drivers. Looks like a repetition from my point #1 but it's not if you read it right.

- Proper media coverage.

Spectator wise:

- I want to see good racing and a well planned league. The Porsche eSports Supercup or the GT Sport WT would be the best cases for me to talk about that.

- If possible, some sweepstakes for the viewers. Per example, here in Brazil we just wrapped the National Porsche Carrera eSports Cup and viewers could get tickets from sharing or liking the posts made from the league organizer on Instagram or something like it or even liking the broadcast (IIRC). It doesn't have to be major prizes like the drivers will get, if you can get 'em awesome, but it's something to get the audience engaging. Formula E does that really nicely with fanboost and while we can't get it on sim racing games currently, something like that on the future would be cool.

- Also I want to get proper commentating, focused on the action and that knows what they're talking about. That they can extract the best possible out the race and bring a proper viewing experience to me. It's no wonder why Jack Nicholls went from FSR to Formula E and Formula 1 eSports Championship and Evan Posocco when from LSR streams to become the first sim racing lead commentator to be featured on US National Television for the eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series on NBC Sports.

just my 2 cents, as a sim racing league organizer myself and an eSports commentator myself.
As a racefan I welcome the growth in Esports especially if young drivers can use it to get into real racing or just become a fan.Unfortunately there is more than enough real racing to watch.Take this weekend for example.The Gran Turismo Sport event is not going to compete with the Kyalami 9 hours,Formula E,Supercar v8s & Shanghai 4 hours.AThe reality is a Jimmy Broadbent live stream gets more viewers

The other problem is that like real racing there are to many series & it is to confusing.Every game seems to have their own series,some have live events like SRO,GT Sport,F1 & some are just online with no event like Iracing.

A one off large event with all the major series at one venue for one weekend in December,Jan or Feb with a big cash prize so there could be one overall champion would probably get people to watch in large numbers.It is easy to be critical of FIA & national organisers like ADAC & MSA but the reason real motorsport functions is because clubs & associations run them.


From spectators side:

Good organization, interesting content, interesting format, perceivable action and eventfulness, good competition, some contrast, good and cosy mood.


I'm not sure there is a good esport event :p

I see how it is good for businesses as you can monetize it.

It is only for a select few drivers and if it becomes popular enough that devs are spending time/resources catering for it I don't think it will benefit the 99% of people playing the game as it will be time not spent on something relevant for the majority of players.

I'd rather see sim racing hubs like RD put more focus into organising normal multiplayer events that anyone can participate in rather than these big budget affairs for a handful of people.

Will Mazeo

As a competitor I like things to be more hardcore, you know double file starts, full course yellows (safety cars), proper damage, no ghost cars in pit lane, etc
As a spectator... well I only check a video to see how aleague is being ran so I can decide if I join in the future (same reason I try to make personal highlights videos in any league I join: the hope to get more drivers), sim racing e"sports" (well the whole thing in all games tbh) is just cringey as hell so I dont exactly have an opinion about how it should be done


From spectator point of view I want to have as much racing and as little down time and interviews and filler as possible. One thing the gran turismo events do really well is that you get a lot of racing and the breaks between the races are relatively short. It is just boring when the commentators have nothing to say and another race is 20 minutes away so they are just killing time. Another thing the gran turismo does well and I had not even realized it until I thought about this right now but they don't go out of their way to shill the game at every opportunity. Even if the e-sport events in gt are just marketing events they have taken very good approach and don't try to sell the game all the time. They don't have any "let's talk about gt sport" moments which I think is perfect. They have their new content announcements but they don't do it in the middle of the races. Having good commentators also helps massively.

I think the short tournament format of the gt sport events also works really well. There is car variety and the races are designed to have some chaos in them. There are the pitstops which makes it challenging to get the right strategy and of course the sim itself helps when it doesn't have much downforce loss in slipstream and slipstream is somewhat powerful. There is always good racing and most of the time there is good racing for the win as well. I don't think they have damage on which probably helps keep all the cars in the race and creates opportunities for people to come back after getting punted because they only lost time in that. Not time and then have to drive with damaged car. I can already hear the screaming that only arcade games have damage off but for short races I don't think it necessarily makes it worse.

I think it also helps that gt sport events don't pretend to be motorsports events. They are gran turismo events and they do things in gt way. They have automatic time penalties for going off and human live stewarding giving time penalties for contact and the cars are ghosted when serving penalties. All in all it all works really well and apart from having live stewards and big arena for the competitions a lot of the stuff they do are not really expensive. Good racing rules, races quickly one after another and solid commentary are something that don't necessarily need gt sport levels of dollar bills to exist in any e-sport event that had money spent on it.


The only succesfull e-sport events I have spectated were some 24H LAN events(LeMans/SPA) with broad north european participation.
They were held and organised in Denmark over a whole weekend and all the participants came with their gears (frames, puters, wheels, etc) allready friday.
It was broadcasted/streamed and specially commentated by guys who had competent knowledge both about the game and the individual drivers.
The only driving held in the normal online/multiplayer mode was the qualifications about the month up to the event.

I both followed the 24H events on stream but also made a visit to the darkened gym hall where the drivers sat in their frames with headphones on and looked at least as concentrated as RL racing drivers.
In another room the teams and resting drivers were discussing and planning tactics/strategy and were interviewed.

Any other socalled e-sport racing events I have briefly seen on puter or telly has been laughtably boring compared to this. :sneaky:

Mr Deap

What they should put is drifting esports.

All spectators are aware that racing with understeer physic is a 3rd rate sport.
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