The esports industry in Latin America has quickly accelerated over the last few years, and both teams and infrastructure in the region are flourishing. Whether it be the revival of a legendary Brazilian Counter-Strike brand or the foundations of a franchised League of Legends series, steps are being taken to evolve esports in the region.
One stakeholder trying its best to uplift and advance esports in the region is Live Media Esports Entertainment, a Peruvian broadcasting company that organises some of the nation’s biggest gaming and esports events.
To find out more about the company’s operations and South America’s thriving esports scene, Esports Insider spoke with Luis Carrillo Pinto, Managing Director of Live Media Esports Entertainment.
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Esports Insider: South American esports appears to be growing at a rapid rate. Could you tell us a bit more about what role yourself and Live Media Esports Entertainment are playing in the region’s growth?
Luis Carrillo Pinto: We have professionalised the Peruvian scene by creating the Liga Pro Gaming, a tournament that marks its 12 consecutive Dota 2 season with more than $70,000 in prize pools delivered to date. We are a team of more than forty people made up of audiovisual production crew, creators of content for social media, marketing and as well as sales. Our Liga Pro Gaming series is partnered with 12 sponsors; one of which is Movistar, the region’s main investor in Dota 2. With Movistar we have been able to bring Dota 2 to television on the Movistar esports channel and during the pandemic it even generated the interest of Peru’s main cable channel, Movistar Deportes.
ESI: It sounds as if sponsors play a big role in your operation.
LCP: Definitely. Thanks to Movistar, Lenovo, AJE and our hard-working staff, we are able to show that high-level esports content can be produced in LATAM. Our transmissions have nothing to envy to any renowned international tournament operator and that is the reason why Huya made a deal with us to broadcast our event. So far that deal has gone really well and we have delivered more than one million spectators in the first three weeks. We have also partnered with GRID for data-driven esports analytics and those two deals have taken our content to the next level.
I’m confident that this season will be our best yet because we’re capturing the format Valve are looking for in their Regional Leagues, but we’re expanding upon this and we have opened the tournament to 16 teams in the upper division and a further 8 in the lower division. The best of Dota 2’s South American esports scene is playing in our tournament.
ESI: Earlier in the year, Valve announced that regional leagues would be coming to Dota 2. Did you apply to be involved in the initiative and host your own?
LCP: We saw it as a great opportunity when Valve announced the Regional Leagues, but we had to be realistic. That was at the end of March this year and with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not have time to propose the opportunity to our sponsors. We depend on our sponsors and we have always been very orderly when it comes to finances. We have a lot of respect for the team at Valve after they trusted with the TV broadcast license and they hired us as the official Spanish broadcast for The International.
Unfortunately, the sponsors decide their budgets one year in advance in LATAM so it is harder to make quick decisions like in Europe, the USA or Asia. In four months things have changed so much and if today we had the opportunity to apply we would do so without thinking twice. No one knows the LATAM market better than we do and with direct contact with all the sponsors, contracts with the best casters and an experienced broadcast team, we are capable of making high-quality content.
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ESI: Your operations are primarily centred around Dota 2. Do many other games have such attention paid towards them in Peru? Is there a divided audience?
LCP: Dota 2 is and always will be the king of esports in Peru. There are more than 30 casters and streamers on Dota TV and each game can exceed 80,000 spectators. What has changed, however, is the streaming platform. Two years ago, Facebook Gaming dethroned Twitch and now there simply isn’t any Twitch audience in Peru. The best streamers are on Facebook Gaming and so is the Movistar Liga Pro Gaming tournament.
This change in preference has happened for two reasons: first, it is because Facebook Gaming is a platform you can watch for free on mobiles and second, Facebook Gaming has a permanent relationship with streamers in Peru. Twitch and YouTube on the other hand only care about the Brazilian and Argentinian market.
ESI: Movistar Liga Pro Gaming is currently in its playoffs stage. Can you share what projects Live Media Esports Entertainment is planning next?
LCP: We have just finished launching the first Spanish-speaking radio station for gamers called G-Radio, and we are preparing to produce the Lima Games Week Digital Edition in late-August. As well as being the first edition hosted online, this will be the first gaming festival in LATAM with four days of content. On top of that we are very excited to be the Regional Partners of ESI Digital Summer on 20th August. In other words we are managing several projects at once, but I feel that this shows we have a great team with an abundance of potential.
Live Media is a regional partner of ESI Digital Summer, the largest global esports business event to date. Starting on August 17th, each day of the event will focus on a different region – August 20th will focus on Latin America.