During every match in a video game tournament, more often than not, the broadcasting team always has the roughest time on set.
Almost everything that can go wrong does threaten to do so, and staying on top of every little challenge that comes your way as a broadcaster is not an easy skill.
In a conversation with Abhishek Mallick of Sportskeeda Esports, Naveen Prakash, production head at Skyesports, opened up about all the hard work that goes into each broadcast, and how his team maintains quality behind the scenes.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q. Naveen, first thing’s first! We would love to learn about your journey in esports, and what your experience has been like, to and with Skyesports?
Naveen: My journey started in March 2019 when I played the Skyesports championship 2019 PUBG Mobile Finals with my team Lightspeed Killers "LSK." That was the first time I met Shiva.
After finishing my B.com in 2019 I moved to Chennai searching for jobs in media, but I had no prior experience whatsoever. I struggled for 4 months alone in Chennai and in September 2019 Skyesports finally announced their PGAX PUBG Mobile Tournament.
Again I participated and went till the quarterfinals, it was at this time that I asked Shiva if I could be a volunteer for LAN finals. He agreed and then he asked if I had a job. I said "no." He then asked me to come to his office and I got hired.
He literally didn’t ask any questions nor did he want to see my qualification. He saw my connection with the game, and that’s the only reason he needed to hire me.
Q. As the esports production head for the organization, what are some of the responsibilities that you enjoy? What is your day-to-day like with the Skyesports production team?
Naveen: The thing I like the most is directing everything in production, as the fun lies in how difficult the job is. The team I have for production is the best I can ever wish for. They are hardworking and give their all from 10 am to 9 pm. But we can hardly complain as this is something that we love doing.
Q. What are some of the hardest things to pull off when it comes to producing and broadcasting a tournament? Can you shed some light on some of the things that you need to be constantly aware of behind the scenes while the matches are live?
Naveen: The hardest thing about producing a show is getting all the pieces together. During live broadcasts, especially managing tournament schedule and time is not at all easy.
When we are live, we can't afford to make any mistake like showing the wrong player stats or wrong team names. But sometimes mistakes happen, and that's the time where we need to act quickly and sort things out.
Q. With COVID-19 making it difficult to host tournaments on LAN, how did Skyesports adapt in bringing professional-grade production to their online tournaments? What were some of the major issues that cropped up while making this transition from LAN to online?
Naveen: COVID-19 undoubtedly made things harder for us. Skyesports is well known for the LAN events in India switching from LAN to Online Production is a difficult task during LAN we will have all the controls but in Online Productions we can't control some things like player internet or power backup etc. We just focus on improving the quality of our production
Q5. When it comes to production and broadcast, how does a tournament on a PC game differ from that of a mobile title? What different challenges do they pose, and which is easier to execute?
Naveen: For production, integrating PC games and Mobile games in broadcasting is totally different.
Moreover, we don't use mobile for all types of handheld titles, for example, in PUBG Mobile and COD Mobile, we use PC emulators for the best experience. However, for games like Clash of Clans, BrawlStars and WCC we use mobile devices.
Q. Skyesports Valorant League was a success when it comes to viewership and community engagement. What are some of your personal thoughts on the tournament and how the production team performed in keeping the audience engaged and entertained for 52 days?
Naveen: The tournament’s success was beyond my expectations, and I am especially grateful to the audience and casters for it. We made some mistakes live, but the audience kept supporting us. This is the biggest boost our production team has gotten that has helped us keep moving forward no matter what.
The team really worked hard for this Skyesports League 2021, we did broadcast without any break for 52 days, and in that time we even helped stream the Valorant Redbull Campus Clutch.
I would like to thank my teammates Ashwin, Kovventh, Muthu, Dipanjan, Karthik, and Sudharshan, as without them none of these would have been successful.
Q. With Skyesports Championship 3.0 on the way, what are some of the organization’s plans on taking their quality of production to the next level? Are there some things that fans can look forward to when the competition for all the titles officially kick-off?
Naveen: The plans for Skyesports Championship 3.0 have already started for all the games. Fans will notice significant changes in production between Skyesports Championship 2.0 and 3.0
Q. With the announcement of Valorant Conquerors Championship, what are your thoughts on the future of Riot’s shooter in the region?
Naveen: After the launch of Valorant in India, the popularity of PC games has increased drastically. Now that Valorant is also coming for mobile, I can't imagine how big of an impact it’s going to create in the Indian gaming community
Q. Are there any special plans for Valorant during the Skyesports Championship 3.0?
Naveen: As I said earlier, the plans have already started for Skyesports Championship 3.0. From start to finish everything will be different now, so do keep your expectations high and we will not disappoint you.
Q. With Valorant Mobile and BattleGrounds Mobile India both getting announced for this year, will Skyesports be looking to launch tournaments for both these titles as well?
Naveen: Yes, Skyesports is also waiting for the games to be launched. We would be happy to do tournaments for these games or in any other game that the community likes.