What does it take to make it as an esports broadcaster?

Luck > Skill.

All right, it’s a stolen mantra from the most famous of Unreal Tournament frag movies (The Fooze movie, go watch it, it’s still great) but it entered my head again today after a chat with an aspiring on-screen presenter.

She asked a pretty simple question: What is the one thing I can do to help make it in the esports broadcasting world? Easy question perhaps, but tough answer.

I found myself thinking hard and all I could come up with, was luck. Not particularly inspiring or helpful to a young up and coming presenter looking for wisdom. But the more I thought about, the more I thought it rang true. Luck had played a part in my own success, more often than my ego would like to admit perhaps, but it really had played a large part.

Without charisma and a smidgen of charm, though, you’ll still be fighting with others for job roles

When I think back to my early days, if I hadn’t been lucky I wouldn’t be doing this now. I could give you dozens of moments in my career I got lucky that lead to something else which lead me here, but let’s just take one to prove the point.

If ClanBase hadn’t been bought by GGL (yes, it was mostly bad in the end, sadly) they wouldn’t have been able to hold a LAN final in Denmark for EuroCup in 2006. Had they not held it in Denmark, I wouldn’t have attended as it would have been too expensive to fly me to the USA.

A video of me and djWHEAT casting that EuroCup event made its way on to YouTube, where a year later Neil Porter watched and decided instantly that he had found his casters for the CGS TV Shows.

Without appearing on the CGS, I would not have gained the experience of working with Mike Burkes and a 200 strong TV crew, largely responsible for helping me gain the experience I needed to the job properly. It’s highly likely my esports career would have been over in 2007 had it not been for this piece of luck.

We’d all like to think our talent and skill is the only thing that matters when it comes to being great at something, but these aren’t enough on their own. Though I have to say, those who do succeed are rarely talentless, luck on its own is never enough.

Foundations for success

In fact, when I came to think about it more deeply, I found four key areas that were critical to success in esports broadcasting.

The first is natural talent, fairly obvious, though some get away with less natural talent because they are strong in other areas. For example, technical ability as a presenter or host can take you some way forward without the natural ability, providing you are exceptionally good at the technical side of it. Combine raw, natural talent and excellent technical ability and you’re pretty bloody good at the job.

Without charisma and a smidgen of charm, though, you’ll still be fighting with others for job roles, no matter how naturally talented or technically brilliant you are. You need to stand out.

The final piece of the puzzle is experience. Organisers and TV people want to be confident you can deliver a high-quality broadcast - not just this time but every time - and the more you do, the more you can cope with just about anything thrown at you.

So four pieces: Raw talent, technical ability, charisma and experience.

All things you can work on yourself and with help from others and more importantly all things that will help you get better at the job rather than relying on something like luck.

What you are effectively doing however is putting yourself in the best position to take advantage of that luck when it comes along, because seriously everyone gets lucky eventually, it’s what you do with it when it comes along that counts.

Which is why Luck > Skill. The Fooze were right.