Almost five months ago, a new journey began with BLAST and now it has come to an end. Through my time in the Commercial Partnerships department, I have truly learnt and experienced many things. I started working in a whole new field compared to my previous jobs. I have worked with a total of 16 partners across regions and events during Fall Groups, Fall Showdown, Fall Final and not least, World Final.
Let us begin with Fall Final. There were some speculation if it would be a LAN or online because of the many corona restrictions going on around the world, would the players be able to arrive in Denmark, vaccinations, corona testing, crew from the London office, crew for the venue and all our freelancers that we work with for our events. We had so much to look out for with the timing and restrictions that we were able to fulfil our wish to hold a LAN event after almost two years of online events.
The work in our department running up to the Fall Final week has been full with tasks concerning our 14 partners for Fall Final. Their broadcast assets and in-arena assets needed to be created and planned into the rundown for the Fall Final. Many partners, means many assets that need to be created, I believe it was around 57 different content pieces in total and 60 interviews. Our job is to mediate what our partners want out of the partnerships and their KPIs to our content department to create content that will please our audience and fans, but also the partners’ wishes. Questions behind this work contain, do the players speak english to create the content, what kind of questions can be asked and answered, do the teams have conflicting sponsors with the sponsor who wants to create the content, and creating a media day schedule where everything matches up. It is just like playing Tetris or a 1000 piece puzzle. A challenge is always good, no matter the outcome, it will help you grow professionally and personally.
We only had one day for Fall Final media day, and it was a long day. We all had different responsibilities on media day and requested help from other departments since we are only four people in the Partnerships Team, we were not enough to supervise 14 partners’ content. Luckily BLAST is an organisation where all departments have a common goal and help each other out where needed.
I had Beway PR interviews as my main responsibility on media day. They were really nice to work with, they really didn’t need my help that much, so I just made sure there was water for players and staff in our room and made sure they kept the time. In between, I helped other rooms with setting up for their next content piece. After that I would go back to Betway PR and see how they kept the schedule. This continued throughout the whole day. By the end of the day (here I mean night) my feet were busted, they needed a well deserved rest, well until the next day.
The next day we went back to Royal Arena. The two first days of the matches were LAN without an audience in the Royal Arena. While the broadcast went on, I needed to make sure that our partners broadcast assets such as U-brackets, center inserts and crawlers were on the live broadcast. Taking screenshots to present in our partner reports with data from Fall Final. All of our data comes from Shikenso, who is our data partner and is doing a great job. My department creates a sheet where we put in pictures of partner logos on the digital assets, content pieces, product placements, giveaway etc. there are so many different partner assets going into this sheet. But it is effective and around two weeks after Fall Final we get the data we can present to our partners.
During the arena days where we had an audience, there were so many things to help with. We needed to put flyers on all the chairs, gosh, so many chairs, haha. Make sure merchandise booths were stocked so fans could buy team jerseys etc. to support their favourite team. It was a pleasure to see all the different kinds of fans that attended Fall Final in Royal Arena, teenagers, people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and even in their 50’s, but also families with small kids, wonder if it is the children or the parents that are CS:GO fans, or maybe a joint family outing?
I even had the pleasure to invite two of my professors, Anders Lund and Henrik Toft, to the event on the Friday and show them around the arena and backstage to explain what we had been working on and how everything was connected through the different departments. One of my co-workers, Patrick Odling, even helped me giving the tour, since he knew another one of my professors, such a small world, right? My professor enjoyed the backstage tour and I felt so proud to be able to actually show them what my internship has been all about.
Saturday and Sunday were a little more relaxed, but still busy. We had different activations running in the arena, one of the was a Noise Level Activation, that was a collaboration between Elgiganten and EPOS, we had some of our talents on stage hyping the crowd and make them participate in the activation where they were able to win prizes from Elgiganten, EPOS, SteelSeries and OMEN. It was an amazing experience to feel the atmosphere of the crowd coming together to participate in the activation between games. It was truly amazing, and glad that we were in a solid building – it almost felt like the roof was falling down during the noise competitions.
We even had a kiss/hug/dance cam going around even though our days were long on match days, it was so worth it, when seeing the reactions from the crowd and how they immersed themselves in the experience.
Sunday, the last day of the Fall Final in Royal Arena. NAVI vs. Vitality in the final produced amazing gameplay for the audience as they fought for first place and to enter the World Final only a few weeks later. Even after an amazing NAVI win, our job isn’t finished yet. We had to pack down all our partner peripherals. EPOS headsets, SteelSeries keyboard and mouse and OMEN screens. All these peripherals were used as product placement and equipment for our talents and in-between game activations, they needed to be packed down and returned to our partners. And not least, we had to drive four KIA cars back to the dealership. We had five KIA cars in the Fall Final week. One wrapped car that our designer made, it was positioned in the middle of Royal Arena, the remaining four we used to drive players around in for media day and other minor transportation jobs. It has been a great experience to be part of a LAN event that many enjoyed.
Fast forward World Final.
Media day was held at Crown Plaza, where we had four partners, Betway, CS.Money, EPOS and L33T, which means we produced around 40 content pieces in total for them.
The World Final was being held in our own studio, but sadly without an audience. But due to the current corona situation it was still understandable that it would be like this. We have to adapt to the situations that come our way and produce a World Final that will entertain the audience and fans, so they can still support their team even though they aren’t there in person. I checked if our partners were represented in the broadcast and on partner streams. The rest of the time was putting together the 14 reports for our Fall FInal partners since the data had come in. SO MANY NUMBERS….! But it was amazing to see the Final match, NAVI 2 vs.1 Gambit. Gambit put on a fight for NAVI and did what they could, but NAVI was too strong and took the first place again as they did in Fall FInal. It was truly deserved, but I believe many of the teams will come back stronger next year.
It was an amazing time to experience four events during my internship with BLAST. It has truly been a great experience and learning curve for me personally but of course also for my studies in Sports Management at UCN. My internship has now finished just before Christmas and I’m now preparing my bachelor for January and hopefully my graduation in the same month. I would not have been without this experience. As a non-gamer in a gamer world, I have learned so many things. Just working with the players for media day, working with our talents, our freelancers, broadcast team in the studio and my coworkers from the CPH office and the London office, have all been a great support for my learning and development through the last months. I am truly grateful for all they have done and their great patience with my many questions. This goes out to all departments within BLAST, we have had so much cross department work, that sometimes you feel it is just one big department.
I wish all of BLAST a good future endeavour with their many goals and development.
And for all of you who took the time to read this, it’s never too late to try and work in a new industry than what you are used to. It just takes an open mind and hard work to learn something new, I will never regret my decision. I want to thank you for taking time to read my experience I have had as an intern with BLAST.
Happy New Year to all the party BLASTers out there….. Over and out from me.
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