Esports: SAP Technology Improves Viewer Experience at ESL One Hamburg

SAP furthers its commitment to esports and supports the live broadcast of Europe’s largest Dota 2 event with tailor-made analyses.

SAP has been actively involved in the world of esports for six months, starting with a three-year sponsorship and an innovation partnership with Team Liquid. A cloud-based analytics app, for which data is provided via the SAP HANA platform, helps the clan’s successful Dota team prepare for their opponent’s game strategies now.

But the competing teams are only one side of the rapidly growing esports ecosystem. The passionate fan community around the globe is constantly inspiring new faces for digital athleticism.

Data Analysis in the Livestream with SAP Cloud Platform

For SAP, the next step is to make analyses of the wealth of data generated in tournaments accessible to spectators in an appealing way. The debut is the live broadcast of the ESL One in Hamburg from October 26 to 28 — considered the most important Dota competition in Europe. Twelve different teams compete against each other in the Barclaycard Arena to win the title and the lion’s share of a total prize money of US$300,000.

The basic gameplay of Dota 2, named after the abbreviation of its predecessor “Defense of the Ancients,” is very simple: Two teams of five players each control “heroes” on a symmetrically constructed square map. At two opposite corners there are “Ancients,” the main buildings of the two groups of players. The objective of the game is to defend your Ancient while destroying your opponent’s.

With 115 different “heroes” with completely different abilities, there are thousands of different constellations that make sure that no two Dota games are the same. SAP’s cooperation with the world’s largest esports company ESL therefore concerns the hero selection (pick and ban phase) of the game. The audience and commentators are to be provided with clues in order to better understand the professional players’ decisions for or against certain heroes.

Spectators learn which bans are judged to be the most likely by the system.

In-memory technology from SAP HANA once again serves as the basis. With the help of the solution, the results and game data of past games can be evaluated in real time, in order to then determine via SAP Cloud Platform which heroes will be the most likely choice of the competitors. The system takes the patch version into account so that changes in the relative strength of the heroes do not distort the result. Even synergies between different heroes are included in the evaluation in order to make the most exact predictions possible.

Unknown Insights for Newcomers and Old-Timers Thanks to SAP HANA

Visually processed, these results then find their way into the broadcast of the event. The aim is to increase the transparency of the discipline. Interested newcomers to esports will thus more quickly gain the necessary knowledge to see through the tactical intricacies of choosing a hero in the notoriously complex Dota 2. Graphic analyses also offer experienced gamers the opportunity to identify previously unrecognized connections. Additionally, the casters are provided with background information to explain on what basis the calculated probabilities are computed.

The livestream also provides Dota veterans with new insights into team compositions.

“SAP as an innovation-driven company is interested in esports as a 100 percent digital sport with a high speed of development,” said Lars Lamadé, head of Sponsorships for Europe and Asia at SAP. ”We’re excited to be working on broadcasting innovations together with ESL in order to deliver the best possible viewing experience to all spectators.”


Copyright feature image: ESL | Adela Sznajder