The Turner Broadcasting System-owned event keeps expanding and pushing the boundaries. From prize pools and viewership to format, they are trailblazers amongst TOs. How come a new kid on the block has so much to teach the rest?
“Hey man, you’re shaking it all wrong!”
“But shaking it is all I know…”
“Let me show you how… It’s… Done!”
What I mean by this lovable little excerpt from “Adventure Time” is that even if you are proficient in something, even if it is the only thing you do, there are still probably some tricks eluding you.
One for the Money
First of all, let’s take a quick peek at the monetary side of things. As much as it pains me to say as a fan, you can’t overstate the importance of scrilla in this hobby of ours. There are a whole bunch of reasons as to why this is true:
Your average player is young and has no work ethic. Star players are a dime a dozen, but ones with impeccable work ethic that play to be the best rather than to live the baller lifestyle are few and far between. In a climate like this, high salaries create a plethora of problems including but not limited to poaching from richer teams, low drive to win (an infamous excuse for the low performance of NA CS:GO teams was that… they got paid too much money), muddying the distinction between T1 and T2 tournaments.
Retirement plans. Or lack thereof. Let’s be honest, as in any sport, the prizes are top heavy so smaller pools means there isn’t a lot to go around. This might seem like it’s to the contrary of my previous point, but if you think about it, bigger pools also means bigger prizes for the 5th to 8th placements. What’s more, it also means players and orgs alike won’t feel the need to grind tournaments out for money, making for a healthier T2 scene.
Growth. Higher prize pools bring in bigger audiences, bigger audiences means higher adoption, higher audiences and adoption combined mean more investment and advertisement opportunities, which in turn funnel money back into the scene growing it further. What’s not to love?
By your powers combined… ELEAGUE shells out huge amounts of prize money. Back in 2015 the highest prize pools topped off at quarter of a million and half of those were from the majors, or in other words sponsored by valve. In 2016, the two highest prize pools are both held by ELEAGUE, at 1.4 mil and 1.1 mil respectively, and neither of them are majors. The takeaway from this is that TOs need not worry about those major spots but rather they should focus on getting sponsors outside the endemic ones like hardware and energy drinks. Case drops or not, the viewership is there!
Two for the Show
It has long been a point of contention amongst the fans of pro CS:GO that the length of tournaments and majors especially is not conducive to making the best CS:GO possible happen. The incredibly short span in which the matches are played plays a number on fans and players alike. Compare that to the month long ELEAGUE tournaments which play out a lot smoother and forego the need for BO1 group stages. What’s more, this lends itself to a much higher production quality, better desks and, of course, better memes. Just look at their social media.
I can already hear the distant sounds of keyboard clatter and the incoming arguments about underdogs and their chances. I feel you, everyone likes an underdog storyline. What I like more than that though are cerebral plays and well executed strategies. I definitely don’t like top talent going out in groups because of BO1 flukes or bland games because people are tired. And since I also like underdog stories, let’s take a look at OpTiC. In last year’s ELEAGUE Season 2 they managed to snatch first place against all odds. Apparently solid plays are another avenue for upset wins and I’m all for seeing more of those.
The Ties that Bind
Last but not least we should give credit where credit is due. ELEAGUE is as good as it is because it’s a joint effort of people who have pushed the esports boulder up the proverbial hill for many years now and TBS coming in with an open mind. It’s refreshing to see a departure from the usual ‘It’s my way or the highway!’ mode of doing things that both veterans and outside investors have been guilty of almost every time until now. Instead of two different worlds colliding, we finally had a melting pot and it paid off for everyone involved. Fans are happy, TBS are happy and you can tell because they keep expanding the roster of games they host tournaments for and the players are definitely happy.
All Articles Must End, but Good Business Practices Don’t Have to
In conclusion, let me say that I really do not think this is a one-off occurrence. In fact, I think with more and more non-endemics like car manufacturers and sports teams coming into the space the gates have been blown wide open for anyone ready to seize the opportunity. Let us not forget that ELEAGUE started at a very precarious moment for CS:GO, the gambling ban. A time where everyone was sceptical about the viewership numbers with no bets to pad them. Thankfully, it turns out the end wasn’t nigh at all, so anyone who decides to take that leap of faith again is going to have to walk a much easier path as long as they have the right attitude.