E-sports – the world of competitive video gaming – has become an international phenomenon, with millions of fans watching both in person and on Internet livestreams, rooting for players that might take home millions of dollars in winnings. Where better to build a premium Esports venue than in the gaming capital of the world – Las Vegas, Nevada?
So that’s what Allied Esports International set out to do, with a new venue in the Luxor Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. “Our mission was to build a turnkey infrastructure to do many different live events, as well as produce content in a style and quality that meets or exceeds current broadcast standards,” says Drew Ohlmeyer, Head of Content, Allied Esports International and Esports Arena Las Vegas. To repurpose a former nightclub space, Allied hired CBT Systems to design and build an A/V system tailored for high-availability streaming video broadcasts.
Darrel Wenhardt, President & CEO of CBT Systems, knew from the start that the space’s previous audio system was insufficient for the demands of Esports. CBT chose a Lawo mc²36 console for front-of-house duties, and a second mc²36 to power the streaming broadcast production control room.
“We’ve worked extensively with Lawo, who have developed consoles specifically for these types of challenges,” explains Wenhardt. “[They] are used around the world to manage major global events including sports, live performance and networked production infrastructures. Lawo was an easy and obvious choice and provided exactly what was needed, while also being able to offer custom workflows for the unique aspects of Esports events.”
Working with CBT Systems, Allied Esports International began drafting plans in mid-2017 for a combined live performance / broadcast venue with audience seating, multiple cameras, concert-sized video screens, and a premium FOH system. During the events, the action would be packaged into broadcast-quality programming streamed real time to subscribers worldwide.
To attain these goals, copper network services were replaced with fiber for maximum bandwidth and connectivity, and an entirely new audio system was specified and installed: twin 24-fader Lawo mc²36 consoles; one for FOH sound, the other to mix finished audio for livestreams. These consoles are networked via RAVENNA AoIP using a Lawo Nova 37 router; I/O includes four compact Lawo stageboxes, each with 32 Mic/Line I/O, 8 AES I/O, 8 GPIO and1 MADI port. Lawo A__mic8 units provide AES67 AoIP connections for multiple deployed mics.
Amazingly, facility design and rebuild were accomplished in only five months, with Lawo personnel on site to support CBT Systems and Esports for commissioning and training.
“This was an exhilarating project,” says Michael Mueller, VP of Sales for Lawo in the USA. “We were very excited to work with CBT Systems and Esports on this project. Lawo has been involved in traditional live sports broadcasts and entertainment production since our inception, and we’ve also provided networked audio production infrastructures for gaming and live streaming customers. So the prospect of working in the growing field of e-sports is a great opportunity to marry live sound with broadcast/streaming technologies, using a unifying network platform.”
Allied Esports’ new venue debuted in March 2018, and since then has become the go-to site to host high-profile events with gaming personalities and arena-scale, high-stakes gaming competitions.
CBT’s Wenhardt is effusive in his praise of Lawo. “The Lawo team gave us great support and expedited delivery…They helped us meet the challenge of a compressed timeline for delivery to support multiple uses both now and in the future for our client, providing both great sound and an easy-to-use and flexible platform for the audio team at Esports.”
Lawo designs and manufactures pioneering network, control, audio and video technology for broadcast and post production, as well as live performance and theatrical applications. Products include control and monitoring systems, digital audio mixing consoles, routers, video processing tools as well as solutions for IP-based A/V infrastructures and routing systems. All products are developed in Germany and manufactured according to highest quality standards at the company’s headquarters in the Rhine valley town of Rastatt, Germany. For additional information, please visit the company online at www.lawo.com.