New at NAMM: EsportsCircus
As the global Crossroads for Music, Sound and Entertainment Technology, The NAMM Show is a platform for cutting-edge products and innovation. The rapidly growing field of Esports has taken notice, turning to Southern California each January to equip their venues and events with the latest gear and standards, courtesy of the multiple education tracks at the show.
NAMM sat down with Jeffrey Stansfield, founder of Esports Circus, to discuss how his company and vision align with The NAMM Show, as well as his exciting plans as an exhibitor. Be sure to visit his interactive booth at the show, located at #E1116, to learn more about this emerging field.
What is your vision for EsportsCircus?
EsportsCircus is an immersive, mobile entertainment venue that creates collegiate tournaments at college campuses around the US. With over 400 colleges offering scholarships to play Esports today, we welcome high school and college student teams and provide a safe and inclusive environment, with a spotlight on fair play and fair treatment.
Why a circus?
Our idea is to bring back the fun and energy of a traditional circus—but to take away the poor, mistreated animals. Instead, we “pop up” our venue by opening up a stage like a circus tent. We currently, through CinemaTransformer Mobile, bring out a cinema trailer plus a tent to create an environment at a host college. Then, others come to compete in a three-day tournament. At the end of several tournaments across the country, the champions compete, and we end up with a grand champion. We call these the Circus Leagues.
The Circus League is comprised of three rings: first is the Esports ring (PC, console, mobile gaming). The second rink is a robotics ring, relaunching the robot wars. The third ring is a VR carnival—because you can’t have a circus without a carnival! This carnival environment allows families and fans the chance to walk into an immersive VR event. This isn’t a standard arcade—we’re looking to enhance and delight all family members. These will be areas of free play.
The fourth and final initiative is inviting the local community to sell and meet with those in Esports. We’re hoping to promote the kids, leveling out the playing field and spotlight unknown players. This allows them to investigate other areas and careers in Esports, such as production, audio and music.
How does the Esports world fit in with The NAMM Show?
Music is a big part of gaming. You can have music without a game, but you can’t have a game without music. As a non-profit, NAMM has been a big proponent of school and bands and education. And, these kids are all playing Esports.
We’ve found that a lot of band members and faculty, as well as sports faculty, are the biggest group to transition into coaching and are into participating in Esports. In other words, the people that coach bands, coach Esports. Most musicians also play games, as well. So that’s a big part of what they’re all about.
Also, music retailers are always looking for new ways to inspire their customers to come into their store. This is a way to compete and to differentiate themselves. Things like VR experiences can have a lot of benefits for music retailers.
We did a VR event called Legends of Rock. We had Slash, Clapton, Frampton—a bunch of famous musicians all jamming on stage. And through VR, you could stand on stage two feet from Eric Clapton while he rips on guitar. Who wouldn’t want to do that? So, VR is becoming a very cool way of experiencing unique moments. At The 2020 NAMM Show, we’ll have a VR chair to showcase these opportunities. Esports is growing at all levels, and this is a great way for businesses to expand.
From the musician’s perspective, marching bands that would normally play on the football field are now playing for the Esports teams. From there, the integration of production goes all over the place. For games—all entertainment for that matter—the story is told through music. Star Wars would not be Star Wars without the orchestra. When Darth Vader comes walking down the hall, the music is what connects you to who he is as a character. Without music, it would just be a movie. And without music, this would just be a game.
How does your background support this vision?
Music is a big part of what we do. I’m a broadcast engineer, my company Advantage Video Systems has been building audio editing bays and mixing studios for 18 years. That’s why I come to The NAMM Show every year. Music composition and engineering is a big part of what creates not only games, but also Esports events. You have your halftime show—Beyoncé coming out and singing. It’s that kind of thing. Part of creating any live event is bringing in that part that brings everybody together—music is the glue that binds the whole event together.
How does Esports involve audio production and entertainment technology?
Esports events are huge, big productions. You have companies that do live events—many of them are at The NAMM Show, such as JMAZ Lighting. The trussing and lighting, that’s what creates the whole spectacle. For example, League of Legends did an event at the Staples Center, selling that out and streaming it to 99 million around the world. So, the combination of streaming, live event production, sound, rigging, safety—it all creates the magic.
Just like you have a Paul McCartney concert, you have the same workflow, the same team. You have what we call “Shoutcasters,” riggers, mixing engineers, plus you have the majesty of the stuff that people are watching and getting excited about—the games.
Live event production is what makes an Esports event happen. Every aspect of what’s involved in NAMM is what makes Esports tick. We need microphones for interviews. Large events have to be able to have your own bandwidth. From the fog machines to the lighting rigs to the giant speakers in Loudspeaker System Showcase, Esports professionals need to know their tools and The NAMM Show provides. That’s what NAMM showcases.
Anything else to add?
First of all, we love our NAMM community, and we invite any exhibitors to come visit us at the show. We invite them to join us for a live interview all four days. We invite everyone coming to NAMM to come by. Not only will we have tournaments every day, we’ll also have free play time. We’ll have 10 computers and mobile devices. We also invite you to experience the ONRIX VR Chair. It’s going to be a really fun experience. See us at #E1116.