What staff do you need for an esports team?
Each esports discipline has a vast number of professional and amateur rosters. The team consists not only of players but professionals in other areas with different duties, who provide the vital functions of the team. It is challenging for a single professional team to exist without them since the players must be focused only on the game and training. But the rest of the tasks fall on the staff's shoulders.
Important note: amateur teams don't necessarily need all these people to function. But with popularity and relevance growing, a team will need to hire a group of professional people to support and help a team function in full swing.
A team starts with a person who gathers the necessary players together and controls their professional activity. An owner can provide functions of the manager or hire a responsible person with the required experience.
Until a few years ago, the manager combined many functions, ensuring the full functionality of the team (like controlling players' water balance), negotiating with tournament organizers, sponsors, and publishing news about a team on social networks.
Now the manager's primary responsibility is to solve all organizational issues related to planning and organizing the team's participation in competitions and the selection of the most promising players for the current roster.
In addition, the manager's responsibilities usually include finding sponsors who are willing to cooperate on charitable/barter/paid terms. Finally, an essential function of the manager is to support players in case of emergencies, resolve financial issues and monitor the activities of other employees who ensure the functionality of the team.
This position requires communication, stress resistance, time management skills, analysis ability, and knowledge of the esports' specifics. Former pro-players, who retired and have learned from their own experience the rules of organizing, conducting, and evaluating competitions, may become managers/owners of teams.
Many believe that the manager must also resolve conflicts between players or their psychological problems. As the former manager of Virtus.pro, Roman Dvoryankin, noted, "A manager is not an older brother or mother." As a result, many organizations now hire a dedicated professional to handle these issues — a personal psychologist for the team. But at the same time, the manager has to predict any conflicts in the team and resolve/stop them before the start.
The team manager's responsibilities impose certain conditions on behavior in the media field. Now, the manager's opinion often reflects the team's opinion, and journalists make conclusions based on their words.
The existence of a team is impossible without players: in each discipline, the required number of players varies. For example, CS:GO and Dota 2 teams have five players in their lineups, while Overwatch League teams have six. Also, some organizations create second squads — there have been cases when the second squad replaced the leading team if there were any significant changes in the main squad or they showed bad results.
The primary function of a player is to be the best at a discipline they perform, follow the team's rules and schedule, and constantly learn new things related to the discipline and training.
This position is optional depending on an esports discipline, but it is vital for such significant games as Dota 2 or CS:GO.
The coach's primary responsibility is to do anything that can help the team better prepare for competitions. The coach establishes a training plan, helps the team determine the game model, selects strategies and tactics. The coach is an additional opinion for players that allows them to resolve disputable situations or set the correct vector of development for the whole team and each of the players separately.
The responsibilities of coaches vary significantly from team to team and from discipline to discipline. For example, in Dota 2, in addition to forming a strategy, coaches often engage in drafts — the choice of characters in matches.
The coach's primary goal is not to lecture but to foster the learning inherent in the activity by pointing out opportunities for learning and turning failure into the learning experience. The coach provides the player with much more stable support, which leads to quick and fruitful changes.
Often, coaches are professional players who have moved away from the active role but still want to be involved in the industry, whose knowledge of the game and personal skills allow them to help the team in training and during a performance effectively.
Marketing and PR departments
A large esports team needs a separate marketing and PR team. Advertising, finding sponsors, and creating a certain reputation and publicity in the media field is a task that takes a lot of time and requires a specialist with decent experience.
The marketing department's responsibility is to select and conduct negotiations with sponsors to increase the popularity of the team and favorable conditions for their performances. Any brand-related questions are also in their field.
The PR department is responsible for any mention of the team in the media space and the correct information about a team to bring to the audience. Its tasks include creating a positive reputation, increasing the team's mentioning, and solving any controversial situations that may arise.
Social media manager/community manager
An integral unit in a team is a person who communicates with the team's fans on social networks, publishes the latest news about events within the team and planned activities (tournaments, interviews, etc.), and collects and analyzes feedback. Sometimes the responsibilities of the SMM manager include PR functions - drafting and agreeing on a marketing budget for brand promotion and PR in social networks, launching advertising in social networks with the preparation of detailed reports and proposals after the event, creating an idea, and conducting attractive giveaways, as well as writing engaging posts and press releases.
A separate specialist is required for all these functions, who will devote their entire working day to monitoring and analyzing the media field, analyzes the activity of competitors on social networks, follows industry news and the latest trends, and also maintains communication and gives feedback to subscribers/fans, and involves them in activities.
Besides SMM functions, big famous organizations have a separate person who creates content for various websites and social networks. It can be enlightening or fun videos/vlogs on YouTube or the team's website about their life or interviews with participants. It can also be significant press releases and articles for esports web sources. Often, in smaller organizations/teams, SMM managers do these responsibilities.
Legal and Finance departments
The main functions of the legal department in an esports team are to conclude various contracts on favorable terms for the team, check them for compliance with the team's rules and the laws of the country, as well as resolve multiple disputes in the legal field (inside or outside the court).
The finance department is responsible for all monetary operations, such as salaries to players and team employees, operations with sponsorship contracts, and the team's operating budget (flights, accommodation, food, bootcamp maintenance). In general, all income transactions and expenses.
These departments require highly qualified specialists with higher education and the necessary experience. However, the team can outsource the services of such specialists, not including these departments in their staff.
An analyst in a team is engaged in approximately the same functions as a manager, coach, and marketing department - only together and deeper into the mathematical side.
The daily responsibility is to monitor the team's performance, predicting and developing a strategy for improving these indicators using formulas and specific numbers. If the PR department is more about verbal communication and the development strategy of the team in moral terms, then the analyst is all about numbers, statistics, and specific indicators of growth or decline in results.
A professional analyst works with game data to analyze what went right and wrong in a particular game and makes predictions for various decision scenarios to improve team productivity.
The basic skills of such a specialist are:
- An analytical mindset.
- The ability to make quick and thoughtful logical decisions and mathematical calculations.
- Impeccable knowledge of the esports' rules and logic.
Many team owners rely on specialist services for short-term assignments, for which the existing staff may not be sufficiently qualified — for example, website development, graphic design, accounting and payroll, legal contracts, and consulting. Big organizations have their own departments for these duties.
Additional: health specialists
New tendency shows how important it is to have a psychologist in a team or have an opportunity to reach a specialist if it is needed. For example, this specialist helps players deal with pressure from popularity growing and being away from closest people due to travel or bootcamps, or resolving internal and personal conflicts or psychological issues. Also, as experience showed, a team with a psychologist in the central staff shows better results, solid connections, and good relationships within a team.
Some teams have a personal massage therapist, like in traditional sports, and a physical activity coach at their needs because players spend a lot of time sitting at the computer (especially during preparation for essential tournaments), which can negatively affect their physical health and team's performance.
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