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The Royal Air Force (RAF) has turned its International Air Tattoo, which typically attracts around 160,000 spectators, into a virtual event.

The Virtual Air Tattoo, which was produced by agency Identity, included virtual flying displays, interviews and footage from previous events. It also included an e-sports showcase, which saw the RAF’s Video Game and Esports Association competing in a 90-minute livestreamed event.

A best of five game of Rocket League – in which players control rocket-powered cars and attempt to score football-style goals in each other’s net – was played. The event was MC’d by professional e-sports host Freya Spiers and broadcast to a global audience via the RAF VGEA Twitch channel.

The 90-minute livestream was delivered from a purpose-built, Covid-secure broadcast studio in Bristol.

RAF Squadron Leader Nige Bell said: “The reach into e-sports came about because of the Covid-19 crisis. The Royal Air Force and Identity looked at alternative ways to gain an audience share in terms of events, and that naturally went into the virtual events aspect. We looked at esports as an up-and-coming vehicle that individuals can do in the Air Force, have an enthusiasm for it and get paid for it.”

Rebecca McCreath, RAF account director, Identity, said: “The RAF and Identity has developed a very close working relationship and this ensuring we had a very clear understanding of the objectives and target market. As such we are able to effectively add value through identifying opportunities to uniquely position the RAF. Within the confines of the pandemic occurred we proactively found alternative routes to market and continue to provide virtual solutions that we know work for both the end-user and the RAF.”