DreamHack Partners with The Trade Group® to Launch First E-Sports Event in the U.S.
…And we successfully executed both I&D on a VERY tight schedule
Founded in 1994, DreamHack is known for hosting massive LAN BYOC (bring your own computer) parties and esports events in Europe, but they haven’t had a presence in North America, until now.
DreamHack Austin, which ran May 6-8, 2016, at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, was the organization’s inaugural event in North America, with The Trade Group® serving as General Services Contractor and Producer.
DreamHack described the 3-day event as “a meeting place for gamers,” centered around a “massive LAN party.” Other activities included “world class esport tournaments” with more than $100,000 in prize money, DreamExpo and Cosplay.
OVERVIEW: DreamHack was founded in 1994 when Kenny “K2-ICE” Eklund and Martin “DH admin” Öjes rented a school cafeteria in Malung, Sweden and invited their computer enthusiast friends to join them for a weekend of coding and hacking. Today, DreamHack’s Summer and Winter events in Europe are easily the largest digital festivals and LAN parties in the world. They are known for putting on first-class esports events.
INDUSTRY: LAN Parties, Esports and Gaming
HOME BASE: Sweden
FUN FACT: DreamHack Austin was the company’s first foray into North America, with Montreal, Canada second on the list.
DreamHack + The Trade Group® = A Relationship Born in the Gaming Trenches
Gaming is a niche where The Trade Group is known for its expertise. Over the years we have worked closely with game developers and esports event managers to create the best experiences possible for event participants and exhibitors.
The Trade Group’s deep connection with game developers, primarily in the area of esports, and experience producing successful esport events worldwide, fostered the opportunity for DreamHack and The Trade Group to partner for the North American launch – DreamHack Austin.
Pulling Off a World Class Event Requires Multiple Hands on Deck – How We Did It
As General Contractor, The Trade Group helped facilitate DreamHack Austin from start to finish, working months in advance to ensure attendees, gamers and exhibitors enjoyed a seamless experience.
We assembled a team of the top engineers, designers, event managers, laborers, technology experts, electricians and logistics specialists experienced with executing trade shows and esports events. The multi-pronged execution plan included:
DreamHack Austin took over two floors of the Convention Center to accommodate exhibitors, esports tournaments, tabletop gaming, trading card games, VIP spaces, concessions, retail space, fan zone, entertainment and more. Unlike traditional trade shows, we created a floor plan for DreamHack that encompassed four key spaces:
The Trade Group coordinated all aspects of the Expo, from selling exhibit space to creating a website to facilitate registration, billing and communication regarding exhibitor needs. We also set up a pre-staging area in a local warehouse where exhibitor displays and materials were stored prior to the event and arranged for freight to be trucked to and from the Convention Center.
ESPORTS ARENAS, COMPETITION STAGES AND SUPPORT
Three featured esports competitions – CS:GO, Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II – were designed to give the feel of a true sporting event, with bleachers surrounding the competition where fans could watch and cheer. We hired an A/V subcontractor to help install huge LED screens, video conferencing equipment, production areas and a studio for the announcer. We also installed several large stages, seating, electrical and networking for other gaming competitions on the upper floor.
LOGISTICS AND STAGING AREAS
We had a day and a half to set up, so securing temporary warehouse space where exhibitors could ship and temporarily store their materials was critical to our meeting the event launch deadline. Since another trade show was also booked at the Convention Center, we were limited to four docks for offloading and loading freight and materials. We carefully scheduled truck arrivals and departures between the warehouse to the Convention Center to ensure freight could be moved efficiently into its designated space.
From electricians to stagehands to general laborers to truck drivers, we coordinated all of the labor involved with the installation and dismantle of the entire show. Twenty union supervisors and more than 70 general laborers worked around the clock to execute a very tight schedule. To set up the LAN area alone required 20 electricians and network specialists.
Attendees registered for the show through the DreamHack Austin website. At the Convention Center we coordinated and executed the technology, staffing, registration counter and badging of attendees.
All those little things you don’t think about – cleaning, trashcans, carpet, paperwork, electrical, lighting, network cabling, seating, last minute exhibitor and client requests and more – we covered all the basics and the bases.
1.5 DAYS TO SET UP…3-DAY EVENT…6 HOURS TO DISMANTLE – WHEW!
THURSDAY, MAY 5
|4 a.m.||Access to Austin Convention Center granted.|
|4 a.m. to noon||LAN Party space set up, including electrical, networking, tables and chairs for 2,000 computer stations.|
|10 a.m. to 8 p.m.||GC duties for Expo, exhibitor freight unloaded and delivered to trade show floor.|
|Noon||Laborers and A/V team installs LED screens, video conferencing, staging area, production area and announcer’s studio. Exhibit installation gets under way.|
FRIDAY, MAY 6
|8 a.m.||Convention Center stagehands set up the competition area and install bleachers with 2,500 seats, Expo exhibit set up continues.|
|3 p.m.||DreamHack Austin officially opens.|
SUNDAY, MAY 8
|6 p.m.||DreamHack Austin closes – dismantle and loading of trucks begins.|
|Midnight||All freight and materials safely loaded on trucks and shipped back to the staging warehouse.|