When FACEIT announced it was bringing the world’s most prestigious CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) esports competition to the UK in September 2018 with the FACEIT London Major, it required expert support to be able to deliver the ambitious 1080p broadcast it had planned.
There were two parts to the project. The first was the FACEIT Minors, which was held at London’s Twickenham Stadium. The winners of which then crossed the city to compete for a prize pool of $1,000,000 at the FACEIT London Major which was held at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
With passionate sell-out crowds following on the big screens within the arena and a huge global tech-savvy audience watching online, the production had to be technically and creatively perfect. If it wasn’t, it could damage FACEIT’s standing among esports fans.
Gravity Media – then branded Gearhouse Broadcast – and FACEIT first collaborated at the Esports Championship Series (ECS) at SSE Arena, Wembley in June 2018. The event offered the perfect test bed for the FACEIT London Major which would take place at the same venue three months later.
For both events, Gravity Media was tasked with providing the core vision facilities for the 1080p production. It was specifically for internet delivery as the competition was broadcast across a range of streaming platforms including Twitch, SteamTV and YouTube. This included the supply of nine Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD system cameras and two Grass Valley vision mixers as well as an experienced crew.
Gravity Media also had to be able to adapt to the unique demands of esports events. For example, the FACEIT London Major had 80 video sources for input, but only 33 were cameras. The remaining 47 were computer generated, with some coming from gaming PCs that are notoriously difficult to synchronise. To combat this issue, a large amount of frame syncs were required to make sure that all of the sources going in to the vision mixers were synced up and ready to play out.
The FACEIT London Major was the first time a single esports organisation has hosted the entirety of a CS:GO Major, and in one location. The hugely ambitious 1080p production utilised some of the latest technology to deliver 28.5 hours of flawless live esports broadcasting captured across four days of competitive gaming to fans around the world. The event clocked more than one million concurrent views, (excluding Chinese viewership) making it the third highest viewed esports tournament ever.