Organizing your school's esports tournaments

Organizing esports tournaments for your school can be a rewarding experience for students and staff alike.

Organizing your school's esports tournaments

TL;DR "Organize school esports tournaments by understanding basics, joining leagues, and planning events. Secure venues, promote, manage, and connect with other teams for scrimmages and continuous improvement."


Esports has seen significant growth in the past few years, both in terms of viewership and participation. More and more schools are now adopting esports as part of their extracurricular activities. Here, we will discuss how to organize esports tournaments for your school, covering aspects such as finding, applying, and joining tournaments, as well as setting up your own tournaments or scrimmages with other school esports teams.

Understanding the basics of esports tournaments

What are Esports Tournaments?

Esports tournaments are competitive events that bring together players or teams to compete in various video games. These events can be small-scale, such as school-based competitions, or large-scale, like professional tournaments with millions of dollars in prize money. Esports tournaments offer students an opportunity to showcase their skills, engage in teamwork, and have fun while competing. Additionally, esports tournaments can foster a sense of community among students and promote a healthy competitive spirit within the school.

Types of Esport Tournaments

Esport tournaments come in various formats, including round-robin, single-elimination, double-elimination, and Swiss system. Understanding these formats will help you choose the best option for your school's tournament or choose which tournaments to participate in. Round-robin tournaments involve each team playing against all other teams, while single and double-elimination tournaments use a bracket structure where losing teams are either eliminated immediately or given a second chance, respectively. Swiss-system tournaments involve a set number of rounds where teams are paired based on their performance in previous rounds.

Finding the Right Games

Choosing the right games for your esports tournaments is essential. Popular esports titles include Rocket League, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Valorant. Consider your students' interests, skill levels, and the competitive scene when selecting games. It is crucial to select games that are accessible, have a stable player base, and provide opportunities for growth and development in the competitive scene.

Creating an Esports Team

Establishing an esports team at your school is the first step towards organizing tournaments and participating in events. An esports team provides a platform for students to meet, practice, and participate in tournaments together. Additionally, an esports team can help in raising awareness about esports, secure funding, and sponsorships, and create a supportive environment for students interested in competitive gaming.

Finding and applying to esports tournaments

Online Platforms for Finding Tournaments

Many online platforms list upcoming esports tournaments, such as Battlefy, Toornament, and FACEIT. These platforms allow you to search for tournaments based on game titles, dates, and regions. Utilize these resources to find the right tournaments for your school team. Additionally, join social media groups and online forums dedicated to specific games or esports, in general, to stay updated on the latest tournament news and opportunities.

Official Game Developer Tournaments

Some game developers organize their own esports tournaments for school teams. Keep an eye on official game websites, social media channels, and community forums for information about these events and how to apply. Participating in developer-organized tournaments can offer unique opportunities, such as exclusive in-game rewards, recognition, and the chance to compete at a higher level.

Regional and National School Esports Leagues

Regional and national esports leagues, like the High School Esports League (HSEL) and the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), cater specifically to school-based esports teams. Joining these leagues can give your team access to a network of other school teams and structured tournaments. Participating in these leagues can also provide your team with valuable experience, access to resources, and opportunities to improve their skills.

Applying for Esport Tournaments

Applying for esports tournaments typically involves registering your team on the tournament platform, submitting necessary information, and paying any required fees. Make sure to read the tournament rules, eligibility requirements, and deadlines before applying. It's essential to be proactive and organized, ensuring your team's paperwork, fees, and other requirements are completed and submitted on time.

Joining esports tournaments

Preparing Your Team

Before participating in any esports tournament, ensure your team is well-prepared. Schedule regular practice sessions, develop strategies, and assign roles and responsibilities to each player. Encourage open communication and feedback among team members to foster a positive team environment. In addition to honing gaming skills, focus on building teamwork, communication, and problem-solving abilities.

Pre-Tournament Logistics

Confirm the tournament schedule, format, and any specific rules. Ensure your team has the necessary equipment and a stable internet connection for online tournaments. For in-person events, coordinate travel, accommodation, and other logistical details well in advance. Establishing a clear plan and preparing for contingencies can help minimize stress and ensure a smooth tournament experience.

Networking and Building Relationships

Joining esports tournaments provides an excellent opportunity for your school team to network with other teams, players, and industry professionals. Building relationships in the esports community can lead to future scrimmages, collaborations, and even sponsorship opportunities. Actively engage with the community and participate in discussions, forums, and events to expand your network and build a strong support system.

Post-Tournament Analysis and Improvement

After participating in an esports tournament, review your team's performance and identify areas for improvement. This can include analyzing gameplay footage, discussing strategies, and implementing changes during practice sessions. Encourage team members to reflect on their individual performance and identify areas for personal growth. Continuous learning and improvement are crucial for long-term success in the competitive esports landscape.

Setting up your own esports tournaments

Planning and Organization

When setting up your own esports tournament, start by determining the tournament format, game titles, rules, and schedule. Consider creating a dedicated website or using a platform like Toornament to streamline registration, communication, and event management. Outline a clear budget for the tournament, accounting for costs such as venue rental, equipment, marketing, and potential prize pools.

Securing Venues and Equipment

For in-person tournaments, secure a suitable venue with enough space and the necessary infrastructure, such as power outlets and internet connectivity. Ensure you have access to the required gaming equipment, including PCs, consoles, monitors, and peripherals. Collaborate with local gaming centers or seek sponsorships from gaming companies to help offset equipment and venue costs.

Marketing and Promotion

To attract participants and spectators to your esports tournament, create marketing materials such as posters, social media posts, and press releases. Collaborate with local gaming communities and schools to spread the word. Leverage your school's resources, such as newsletters, bulletin boards, and websites, to promote the event. Reach out to local media outlets and influencers to help generate buzz around the tournament.

Managing the Tournament

During the tournament, designate a team to oversee event management, including registration, bracket updates, and resolving disputes. Utilize tools like Challonge or to manage brackets and results efficiently. Ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all participants by enforcing the tournament rules and fostering a respectful, inclusive environment.

Setting up scrimmages with other school esports teams

Establishing Connections

Reach out to other schools in your region with esports teams to gauge their interest in scrimmages. Networking through regional and national school esports leagues can be an effective way to make these connections. Establishing relationships with other schools not only provides valuable practice opportunities but also strengthens the local esports community.

Scheduling and Logistics

Coordinate with the participating schools to establish a mutually convenient date, time, and location for the scrimmage. Consider alternating between hosting and visiting other schools to share responsibilities and costs. Communication is key—maintain an open dialogue with other schools to ensure that all parties are on the same page regarding logistics and expectations.

Structuring the Scrimmage

Work together with the participating schools to determine the game titles, rules, and format of the scrimmage. Make sure to have a plan for managing the event, including scorekeeping, streaming, and dispute resolution. Establishing a clear structure for the scrimmage ensures that all participants have a consistent and enjoyable experience.

Post-Scrimmage Analysis

Following the scrimmage, review your team's performance, discuss strategies, and identify areas for improvement. Also, consider soliciting feedback from the participating schools to enhance future scrimmages. Reflecting on the scrimmage experience can provide valuable insights for both individual and team growth, ultimately contributing to your school's esports success.


Organizing esports tournaments for your school can be a rewarding experience for students and staff alike. You now have the knowledge and resources to find, apply, and join esports tournaments and set up your own tournaments and scrimmages with other school esports teams.

Remember, the key to success is preparation, communication, and teamwork. Embrace the exciting world of esports and provide your students with an engaging and competitive extracurricular activity.

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