Esports project management – Budget & Cost of a tournament

In my latest post, I’m going to give some quick insights into some additional esports project management tips with budgeting & costs of a tournament. I’m not going to discuss revenue generation at this time. That’s for another post.

In part 1 of my tutorial of project management in esports, there was a considerable of planning and what to think about when thinking about doing an event. Now we’ve identified the key individuals or who we need, what we need and how much (hopefully) and we need to forecast a budget to see costs. Live event costs are on a completely different level than online. I’ll try to go through both and discuss what you potentially need to look out for.

A lot of this is going to come down to experience and being comfortable with knowing what costs you can and cannot get away with. As a tournament or event organizer in esports, the majority of your costs are going to come down to a few line items which are prizing and staff.

Here’s a sample cost for a theoretical event and some estimates. This would be a rough estimate for a T2 LAN for 8 pro teams. You can adjust up and down based on the tier of your event and what you hope to do. Please note these are just ESTIMATES. They can vary from actual quotes.

Prize pool

if you’re attracting international teams, this will more than likely be in USD. There is a good chance this will be the biggest or second biggest line item depending on which game you’re organizing.

We’ll put $150,000 USD for this item (think Dota 2 or CSGO). If you’re in a much smaller event then aim downwards. You don’t need that much of a prize pool.


Are you getting a venue comped (free) or are you going to pay for one? Depending on size or how many seats you need, you may be looking at anywhere from $5,000 / day – $30,000 day depending on size. For simplicity, we’ll take a middle of the road venue at $10,000 / day. For 6-7 days of setup + teardown + event you’d be looking at $70,000 or so.


Flights aren’t cheap. Teams may ask for business class or premium economy flights. Are you going to offer it to them or simply give economy class? It’s a decision you need to make as a tournament organizer and varies from game to game. For example, some esports titles teams fly their players in.

If you’re going to fly some international teams + staff in. You could be looking at around 70 flights at an average of around $1300 USD. This line item can amount to around $91,000 USD. We’re going to use Dota 2 as an example where 8 teams with 5 players + 1 coach each.


Here’s another big one. This could potentially be offset with a sponsor. Chances are they’ll give a discounted rate but not free at all. You may have to single book some rooms and double book others if players are comfortable. This entirely depends on the game & team norms. If a LAN is 4 days teams should get there roughly 2 days prior for a total of 6 nights. Location is important as you may need to figure out transportation for teams if it’s too far away from the venue where you’re playing.

70 people * 200 USD per night * 6 nights = $84,000

Car transportation

This can be optional if your hotel + venue is close by. If not, you’re going to have to pay for this. It’ll probably be in the range of about $7500 USD.


You need to feed staff and teams, you’ll need to figure out how many meals you’re offering. Let’s say breakfast & lunch for 6 nights for 70 people. Estimate around $14,500.


OK, here’s a big one coming up. This varies wildly by event.

Broadcast talent – This entirely depends on their day rates. Some can be $500 and anywhere from $2500. For simplicity, I am going to say it’s $1000 per day for 10 talent.

10 talent * 5 days (if you fly them in before the day) * $1000 USD day rate = $50,000

Production crew – OK, they need to build the sets, test the lights, produce the event, work the cameras etc. You’ll want someone competent for this. Quotes vary wildly but you can expect to pay around $100,000 USD for 4 days + setup.

LAN admins – you’ll want some competent staff here. You can estimate you’ll need 5 staff on rotation at around $500 – 750 day rate.

$500 * 5 staff * 5 days = $12,500

You’ll also want a lead admin who is more expensive. Let’s say their rate is $750 / day for a total of $3,750.

Observers – depends if they’re included in the production crew budget or not. Popular observers can range from $3000 – $5000 for the 5 days.

Translators – are you going to do interviews with teams? If so, you’ll need some translators. Sometimes team managers can do this but only if they’re comfortable. Expect to pay around $1500 for a solid translator.

Social media – $1500

Photographers – 2x = $4000 – $5000

Merchandise helpers = 2x = $2000

Project Managers – $4000

General volunteers / help

This can be free but do not exploit their labour. Make sure you treat your volunteers with respect and show them a good time!

Trophy, other assets, etc


Oh shit fund


PC Equipment

Try to get this for free or sponsored. $30,000 USD (8 teams practice PCs, stage PCs, chairs, monitors etc for 6 days). Could be more as prices have skyrocketed.

Total Costs

The total costs would be roughly – $667,750 USD for a T2 to T1.5 pro event possibly. There are obvious ways you can reduce costs by sponsorship’s and other partnerships but this is just to give an idea. If you’re doing a small boutique event you can aim downwards. You can also estimate upwards for a higher quality LAN as well. Roughly $1,000,000. The sky’s the limit honestly.

Esports tournament organization isn’t cheap. It’s high risk and high reward. There are a ton of costs in a live event and what I’ve described is fairly bare bones. This doesn’t include any augmented reality setups, vendor booth costs (hopefully the sponsor is paying for it), fan extras, thank you packages etc.

Hope that helps, let me know of any questions and feel free to contact me.

8 thoughts on “Esports project management – Budget & Cost of a tournament”

    • Hi Joe,

      I can write up an article on marketing the event. Are you looking at it from an amateur or pro perspective?

      A couple of tips:

      1. Leverage the teams if you can. They have bigger audiences than the TO generally
      2. Announce early but not too early. You want to create a good amount of hype.
      3. Create custom assets that you can use throughout the tournament for announcements etc.
      4. Get in touch with esports news sites and ask for coverage.

      Those are some quick tips off the top of my head. I’ll write a full article shortly.

      Thanks for the commment!

      • Hi Bill,
        This was so helpful. I’ve a question if it would be possible to create an article about Internal Control and Risk Management and how should it be done in E-Sport ? I’ve recently joined a IC and RM team and this is relatively a new team and would really need some help on where to start what kind of scope should I focus on. I know that to be a good IC&RM in Esport you first need to understand the business and its processes and be well-oriented about team structure and their responsibilities, that’s basically what I’m trying to do now.

        • Hi Wiktor,

          Thank you for reading the article and for your question. For Internal Controls could you provide a bit of context what you’re looking to accomplish? Is it understanding internal process, ensuring financial aspect of events or something else? Let me know. As for risk management, here’s one specifically for events that might help you.

          Risk during an event is different than before/after an event. However, they relate. There’s also risk from a day to day operational standpoint.

          Please take a read and let me know. Happy to answer once I get a bit more context.

          Thank you

  1. insanely helpful. thank you for all the insights! hope to host one in the future and will definetly come back to this article in the planning phase.


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