Welcome to the latest instalment of MLE Monthly Insight; an in-depth look behind the scenes at the different areas of MLE. In these articles we will look to give you, the community a peep behind the scenes, to see what’s happening and potentially what’s coming. So let’s get to it…
There’s been a fair bit going down on in Community Town this past month. No doubt many of you will have seen some of the surveys going out including the “sentiment survey” and the recent logo survey. Thank you to all those people that have responded to either or both of the surveys. The feedback provided has been very insightful and is helping to structure some of our plans and and shaping our internal discussions.
The sentiment survey has given us some very useful feedback and highlighted areas where we can make improvements. The survey did highlight some concerns, criticisms of the communication regarding logos, which we believe was largely based on communication early on in the process (Season 8 and fair portion of Season 9). We agree communication could have been better during that period but since then we have made continual improvements, especially since the release of the “logo limbo” insight article posted August, 2019.
Segueing into the logo survey, we received a good level response. We will be looking to publish survey for each “batch” of logos revealed. This gives the community a better chance to digest each logo and provide clearer feedback for us. We will “talk” a bit more about the design elements of logos later on in this article under the media section but we wanted to take this opportunity to share general consensus so far.
The general consensus based on the feedback has been generally positive with some great feedback been provided on not only our communication and the logos process but on the logos themselves. We’ve seen a fair amount of conflicting opinions this past week since 6 of the franchise logos were revealed. The infographic below gives an overall summary of general consensus on the first 4 logos revealed, which formed the bulk of the survey.
Looking into the feedback at more detail for each logo revealed some common themes. For the Aviators logo, the community generally liked the simplicity of the logo in particular the clean lines & “wings” element of the logo. A proportion of people were unsure of the A/chevron and a few people were hoping the logo would incorporate a plane or pilot in some form.
The Blizzard logo was the most divisive. People generally liked the level of detail and the colours of logo but the biggest area of contention was with the use of a Yeti for the logo, with a noticeable proportion of people saying they didn’t really associate the image of a Yeti with the franchise.
The Comets logo has received a positive reception with most people liking the simplicity and bright colours of the logo. One notable criticism made was the use of the letter c being used to represent a comet itself.
Lastly the Demolition was the best received out of the 4. People generally agreed the style and design suited the franchise, stating the logo gave the franchise character. The main criticism of the logo is the colour scheme itself.
So that’s a summary of the voting so far. A big thank you to everyone who provided feedback. But what does this feedback mean going forward? Well it’s unlikely to have any immediate and direct changes. While we know there have been contrasting opinions on the logos, some more than others, the general consensus appears to be positive, which we are happy to report. Of course this doesn’t mean these logos can’t or won’t change over time but for the immediate future we want to give them, and those still to be released, time to embed into MLE. As we saw during the MLD era logos did develop and evolve over time and we are always committed to improving where possible. For now though we hope people are enjoying the reveals and we look forward to revealing more over the coming weeks.
Of course Community isn’t just about surveys. One area of MLE that some people may not think about is the admissions process. Our admissions team have been working consistently throughout the season to ensure a steady stream of new faces join the community, so a big welcome to all those that have joined us this past few month. We thought we would use this opportunity to provide some statistics and a brief overview of the process that give an insight into how involved the admissions team are.
The admissions process is essentially split into 3 phases:
- Application: where a person applies to join MLE. Their form is then reviewed & processed by admin team. During this phase the admin team will be looking through all relevant information provided on the form, such as RL tracker, Twitter, Steam account, etc. A decision on whether to approve an application will then be made.
- Interview: after an applicant has been approved and joins the admission server they are then interviewed by a member of MLE admissions team to see if they are a good fit for the community.
- Orientation: after being interviewed, should an applicant be deemed as a good fit they are then invited to an orientation session. Here a member of the admissions team provides important and relevant information to support and help applicants before they join the MLE server.
Hopefully those stats give an indication of the work load of the admissions team as well as the amount of people “coming through the doors”. A big thank you to our admissions team for all their work in keeping a steady stream of new, excitable faces into our community.
Not too much from League Operations perspective to report this month. It’s all relatively business as usual as focus is on day-to-day operations such as scheduling, transactions (roster changes, rank ups, etc.) and resolving any issues that arise from competitive action.
There are two points worth noting though. The first being the new ineligibility system, which required rebuilding the database and spreadsheet structure entirely to be able to account for salary on a daily basis. Huge shout out to Peytoneli for his work on this. The second point is the Statistics Team bringing on kcscrag to help with data entry, and Squanchy to rebuild his excellent standings sheet in MLE-form. Expect that to be released in the coming days.
Focus will soon start to turn to playoffs and ensuring everything is in place to ensure as smooth operation as possible. This will include coordinating with broadcast team to determine scheduling responsibilities and ensuring General Managers are aware of the structure and any relevant information they need to know and pass onto their players.
On a broadcast front improvements are continually being made and we have some exciting things in the works we are looking to bring in the near future that we think will increase the level of production.
This past month we put out a broadcast survey to gauge community opinion on broadcasts. A big thank you to everyone who replied so far, we had over 30 responses to date. For those who put their Twitch ID on the forms the free 100 reward points have been added to your accounts. Here are some of the key figures/results from the survey.
Those are just some of the “key” results from the survey, there’s obviously a fair amount of feedback and ratings provided that we will detail. But a general summary from the survey can be that the results are positive with a few areas of improvement. Obviously the results are from a small sample of the community but they provide a general indication of thoughts. We know not all 1400 community members watch streams, though we always hope they might :). 30 responses essentially reflects about 30-50% of viewers based on average and peak viewing figures. What’s great to see is nearly 75% of those who completed the survey said they watch 3 or more streams a month. This gives some validity to the results, as the majority of feedback is being provided by those who have more exposure to streams and therefore likely to be able to form stronger opinions.
Stream enjoyment is definitely something we are interested with. We want to make sure people enjoy watching the streams. Simply put, if people do they will likely tune in more. It’s clear though there is a proportion of people who feel we could be doing more to make streams more exciting and we are continually looking at ways to do just that.
Steam promotion is one area, which based on feedback could do with some improvement with the main points being about consistent promotion as well as ensuring broadcast schedule is posted well ahead of time. Ideally we want to have the broadcast schedule out by Friday of each week although there have been a couple of instances where perhaps we have not delivered to this timeframe. Something we will aim to rectify going forward.
Although not shown on the graphic, the survey included a number of questions regarding the presentation of broadcasts. The ratings were positive across the board, “good” counts as a rating of 4/5:
82% rated the quality of graphics at least good or better
87% rated the scoreboard at least good or better
91% rated the scoreboard at least good or better
90% rated the image quality of streams at least good or better
90% rated the smoothness and stability of the action at least good or better
Great results across the board and a true testament to the fantastic work behind the scenes to make our broadcasts look awesome! But we won’t rest on our laurels here, you can be sure we will continually be making improvements over time.
In terms of casting, the response was generally positive as well however a few issues were brought up, which the broadcast team will be looking to address. Primarily there will be even more focus on caster training and development, ensuring budding casters aren’t “thrown into the deep” end too soon. That being said the availability and levels of resource when it comes to broadcasting talent can sometimes be limited. It means we have to give those with perhaps as not much experience a chance. That concludes our look at the broadcast survey, please don’t be afraid to submit more feedback or fill out a form if you haven’t already done so.
Moving on from the survey. We know the broadcast schedule can create some debate and discussion in the community. The majority of franchises and subsequently the teams and players that represent them all hope to feature on stream. From an organisational perspective we try to balance giving each franchise exposure, each of the four leagues coverage and also try to put the best match ups on stream. Before we go into this in more detail let’s look at some stats surrounding broadcast scheduling for the season up till the end of March.
At the end of last month, 75% of franchises (24 out of 32) had featured on stream at least once. During March, 7 of those franchises featured on stream at least once, meaning 96.8% (31 out of 32) franchises have been streamed. The Sabres, the only franchise to have not been streamed, were streamed this weekend (April 4th) so that figure now sits at 100%, which is great, with still 3 weeks of regular season broadcasts left. It’s difficult to ensure an even spread amongst franchises due to the flexibility of our scheduling system, which allows series to be scheduled any time within a set period, Thursday-Saturday, not including “double header series”. The only way to ensure an almost even spread would be to implement hard-scheduling however this would restrict players to only be allowed play at certain times.
We are continually looking at our scheduling system and seeing where improvements can be made. It’s definitely something that will be reviewed in the off-season to see if any improvements can be made that benefit and balance things from an organisational, franchise and player perspective.
Lastly over to viewing figures for March. They were slightly down compared to the rest of the season however we are not too concerned and are confident viewer numbers will pick up going into the business end of league play. Big thank you to anyone who choses to tune into the MLE Network at any point. We appreciate the support and hope you enjoy the content.
Naturally there is a lot of focus on the franchise logos currently as they start to be revealed. So far 6 logos have been revealed: Aviators, Blizzard, Comets, Demolition, Flames & Spectre. Hopefully these logos have given everyone an idea of the general style we have tried to implement. Our vision and objective with the franchise logos was to have clean, relatively simplistic logos that gave each franchise an identity, whilst still feeling part of MLE. We wanted to stray away from the “generic” esports style logos that seem common place, as we felt they don’t really fit in with the identity of MLE. We thought we would take this moment to give a brief insight behind each logo revealed so far. The people involved in MLE hierarchy with the logo process were all Leadership and Council members, including advisors, as well as Goofy (Media coordinator) and Sleegi (Broadcast & Marketing coordinator).
The Aviators logo was the first logo created. This was done back in September 2019. We felt the simplicity of the design was one of the main positives. Not encumbered with too much detail but something straight, clear and bold. The “wing” element and the stylised chevron give the logo that identity and relatability to the Aviators without being directly obvious.
The Blizzard logo took many of us by surprise at first as like many, we didn’t naturally think of a Yeti. That being said it immediately became obvious to us and we could see the relevance. It soon felt like a unique twist, avoiding the trappings of the old snowsept mountain logo. It has divided opinion in the community however we are confident with time it will grow on people.
The Comets logo was one that pretty much was universally liked upon the first design being shown. The bold, bright colours mixed in with the imagery felt a natural fit for the franchise. The logo did undergo a small revision however as the “trail” was much longer and we envisioned this may be problematic for merch, graphics, etc. and so the designer reduced the length of to it’s now current state. For a bit of fun, we have popped the original logo below (behind a spoiler, what teases!)
The Demolition logo was also well received upon being shown to us by the designer. We felt the mischievous look of the logo felt in keeping with the Demolition franchise, one that is associated with a bit of craziness and mayhem.
The Spectre logo, revealed this past weekend, dubbed “lil’ spooky boi”, was also generally well received. We all felt the logo had personality and seemed to fit the identity of the franchise; spooky but with a hint of playfulness that avoided the logo being too “dark” and out of touch with the overall presentational style.
The Flames logo, revealed on last night’s stream, was one of the more divisive logos amongst those of us involved in the process. Some of us really liked the simplicity and the fact the flames were stylised to look like an F, while others felt perhaps it needed more detail. We decided to keep the logo as it was for the time being. Throughout the process we have been conscious about time and we wanted to ensure time wasn’t being wasted “perfecting” a logo, when that time could have been used to start/develop others. Of course this doesn’t mean we said yes to every 1st draft going, the Flames was one of the logos which did undergo a slight tweak, which saw the Flames being made thicker.
After revealing these logos we have had many questions, enquiries, etc. around the whole logo design process, especially from the survey. If you have not seen it already a new channel, #logo-faq, has been created in the Discord server to answer some of the common questions asked. Hopefully this provides more clarity to the process and giving an extra level of detail to it. Don’t forget all logo reveals can be viewed on YouTube too!
Lastly we have seen some misinformation stated regarding the cost of logos. Previously we have held back discussing this however now that logos are starting to be revealed we know feel it’s the right time to offer some insight to this. Both designers we are working with offered very attractive and fair rates, which worked out at $62.50 per logo. Simple maths $62.50 x 32 is $2000. We are very happy with the quality of output in relation to the cost of production, especially considering some quotes we received while researching were 2-3 times higher than this. We would like to take this moment to thank both designers for their efforts and are looking forward to giving them the acknowledgement and respect once all 32 are revealed.
On the subject of revealing the logos we are currently revealing two a week, one at the end of every stream. We are hoping to increase this rate with a view to having all 32 released by the Championship series, though this is dependant on time and resource available. Regardless of if we can make that target, all 32 logos will be ready to go (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for Season 11.
Of course Media isn’t all about logos. The team have been working as always to ensure weekly tasks are completed and focus is now starting to shift towards playoffs. Behind the scenes Goofy is in coordination with Broadcast to bring some exciting things to stream, which we hope to bring to you in the near future. There is also a focus to automate some assets to allow for more efficient processes and working. This last week the Conference standings graphics you see on screen can now be automatically filled with the relevant stats, saving time and resource that can be spent improving elements. Big thanks to AOB for his work on making that happen.
It’s relatively quiet in terms of Marketing the team are currently looking towards playoffs and beyond in terms of plans. We are also reviewing our Social media interactivity and processes around it. The aim is to create a more streamlined and productive way of working, which will help us be more consistent in our promotion and activity on Social Media.
On the merch side of things the store saw a very quiet month with only 1 sale. This was to be predicted somewhat as new logos start to roll into town, there’s no doubt people will be waiting for these to be released before purchasing merch. We are hoping to add some new designs in the meantime however so keep your eyes peeled for further news on that. Unfortunately due to current coronavirus pandemic, Spreadshirt has stopped promotions (i.e. sale periods) for the foreseeable future. This is to ensure they can meet demand while also ensuring safe-working. More information can be found here.
There has been a change in the Sponsorship team. Therealmobagz (yup not that fake one) has recently come on board as the new Sponsorship Coordinator taking over from Scoobert. We would like to take this moment to say thank you to Scoobert for all his work and effort during his time as Sponsorship Coordinator. Mobagz has been on the team for a while and we have full confidence he will help lead and direct the Sponsorship team.
Things have been inevitably quiet for Sponsorship whilst the change took place. The main priority for the team during this time is to maintain existing relationships and ensure any agreements are suitably met and delivered.
There was just one PowerA giveaway last month due to the bye week. VoidRL was the lucky community member who won themselves an awesome Spectra Enhanced Wired Xbox One controller. Due to the changes in the Sponsorship team there was a delay on sending out the controllers but they will soon start to be sent out to winners. We still have more PowerA giveaways coming, with 4 more Spectra controllers to give away over the course of the regular season! Congratulations to Atokad, who won this weekends giveaway!
Our website is a key component of league for many reasons and there is always something happening behind the scenes when it comes to the development of it. This past month TeaBoneJones joined the website development team and he will be working on an exciting feature. Each player’s salary and rank will be available on their profile and be updated frequently so the information does not become outdated. This is something we know a number of people have requested.
We are also considering getting the content train back up and running again. If you have a passion or interest in journalism/writing and feel you could produce regular, engaging content on behalf of MLE for the website then please reach out TheGamingBear.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
As our community has grown there has been increasing interest in how things work behind the scenes and specifically where the revenue generated from Twitch, Patreon and merchandise is used. As stated frequently, revenue has mainly been used for the creation and development for logos for our 32 franchises. But we thought we would give a bit more insight into where the revenue is used and how it is essentially split. The information provided in the graphic below doesn’t account for all revenue, but more the distribution of the revenue that has been used this season.
Not all revenue that has been generated has been used. We essentially have managed revenue for future investments and projects. We are conscious of using any revenue wisely, ensuring any use of the revenue is beneficial and worthwhile. As you can see from the infographic revenue so far this season has only been used for a small number of aspects. As we near the completion of logos we can now start to look at other projects and potential investments.
In last month’s insight you may remember a brief mention regarding Patreon and a purpose to breath new life into it. As you know the world has somewhat changed this past month and we felt it best to hold off any changes for the time being. We didn’t feel it quite right promoting Patreon during this period of uncertainty. Of course we know Patreon is completely voluntary but at the same time we want to ensure people focus on what’s really important.
For those current Patreons we appreciate your continued support and we aren’t forgetting about you we can assure you. Your support has directly helped MLE, helping us fund such projects as franchise logos and ensuring we can keep services such as the website running. And while we but plans to refresh Patreon on a small hiatus you can be rest assured it gives more time to improve those changes.
So lastly we wanted to take this moment to reflect a bit on the state of things and how it effects MLE. Obviously as an online Esports organisation our operations aren’t really affected. However we know the situation is affecting many of our community members. While MLE can’t solve everyones’ problems we do want to encourage people in community to come together and support one and another through it. We have a great community built on respect and strong values, and in such testing times the strength and value of the community can be a great source of support for the people in it. So remember be kind, be respectful. Have fun and most importantly right now stay safe.
Thanks for reading,
from everyone at Minor League Esports