Just like last year I visited the ESL One in Frankfurt again. ESL changed lots of things – and were suprised by others.
The first impression was the worst: the stadium’s roof was damaged and couldn’t be closed. When I arrived it wasn’t raining but you could tell that it could start every minute. I heard the roof had been damaged some days before – so ESL had to build tents where all the booths could be placed under. One of the tents was’t even finished on friday evening – meaning that the exhibitors having their booths in there had to work the whole night from friday to saturday so they could open on saturday at 9 am. A nightmare for every exhibitor but apparently not ESL’s fault.
The other impressions were not bad at all. This time the screen was facing the stands so people didn’t have to look up to have a perfect view. In my opinion this option was way better than last year’s screen (who was facing the field where chairs were placed) although the exhibitors didn’t have a chance to watch the games because the screen wasn’t facing their tents. So while last year, people were watching games while looking at exhibitor’s booths, this year people almost vanished from the exhibitor area when the games started. I don’t know if ESL was aiming for this because it meant a fuller audience (= better pictures) but also made the event less attractive for exhibitors. Additionally, if you were sitting in the audience and wanted to go to the exhibitor area, you had to leave the stands and walk around the outside of the stadium to a big entrance and then walk in. This meant a few minute walk for a linear distance of maybe 50m. So, just getting something to eat (which was mostly at the exhibitors area) and getting back to your seat took you two of these walks and the waiting at the food stands – so probably at least 20 minutes. And without screens you would miss whatever was happening on the screens during that time. Definitely not a good solution!
The best new thing at ESL One in my opinion was all the little details ESL had put a lot of work into. There was bullriding, american gladiator fighting, airbrush tattoos (ESL One or your favourite team’s logo) and – which was my favourite thing the whole event long – a balloon artist. You could literally go there and ask him for anything and he would make a ballon for you. A minion? Unicorn? Ninja turtle hat? just show him a picture and he would start immediately. Additionally he was the greatest guy, telling stories, talking to everyone, it was amazing and a lot of fun to watch and talk.
ESL did a lot for the visitor experience at ESL One. They put a lot of thought into it and it clearly paid out. The event overall worked flawlessly (until the very end where the stadium audience couldn’t hear the caster anymore – something broke during the winner’s ceremony) and more or less everything was better than last year. I’m sure ESL will fix everything so next year’s events will have all the good feature and miss the bad ones. This year has already been a great improvement over last year’s event! GG WP ESL!