GosuGamers Weekly Business Review, 28/1 - 3/2
Welcome to the Gosu Money Review, where we take a look at the biggest, most interesting or sometimes just strangest stories to permeate the world of eSports business each week.
Image courtesy of ELEAGUE
When the figures were released after the event, it turned out that was the case. Game two of the best-of-three Grand Final between Virtus.pro and Astralis saw over 1m viewers tune in concurrently, smashing the previous record of 890k, set at ESL Cologne in 2016. Add to that the fact that another 200k or so tuned in to watch the event on TV, specifically TBS, and it’s pretty obvious that the competition can be considered a roaring success.
What will be interesting to see is whether these massive numbers actually encourage any of ELEAGUE’s peers to follow their lead, either by aggressively pursuing multi-platform deals or perhaps ramping up the production values to the levels we saw from the Turner – WME/IMG group. Either way, the bar has been raised again and it is up to the competition to try and clear it.
Conflicts of interest are always fun, and we’ve got a great one this week for you. A recent Smash Bros event names Genesis, that concluded with Swedish God Armada victorious as usual, also saw a summit of influential names comes together. Calling themselves a ‘Tournament Organisers Summit’ and apparently organisted by Bassem ‘Bear’ Dahdouh of Panda Gaming, the group contains representatives from many teams, commercial organisations and so on, including but not limited to Red Bull, Tempo Storm and Twitch.
Now, it is worth saying that there has been no specific allegation against the group at this stage, but this the reality is that there are too many vested interests in that group for it to ever be credible. The idea a Real Madrid official should be involved in managing or refereeing an event the club is partaking in would be laughed out of the notoriously corrupt world of football, and we can show positive proof of the potential harm too, with an example from the world of CS.
A small Finnish LAN tournament, with a $5k on the line and not much in the way of notable players made a bit of a stir on Reddit this week due to a post alleging some murky stuff had gone on. To sum it up, one of the teams had been accused of cheating and therefore disqualified, which is not that unusual for CS, but the fact there was a connection between the team that benefitted from the decision and the organisers meant it looked way worse than might otherwise have been the case.
Smash isn’t on the level of CS yet, and may never get there, but the sort of nepotism and collusion possible in groups like the aforementioned TO’s Summit will only make the journey longer and more arduous. From the outside, the obvious question to all those involved in such groups is ‘why can’t you see this problem?’, and the fact that is even being asked to people who are otherwise intelligent is also worrying: maybe they can see it, but want you to ignore it.
How not to PR
From a new star of Counter-Strike we go to an old name in eSports, and one that has certainly tasted controversy before. G2A, a keyseller that has also long been a sponsor of eSports events and teams appeared on Reddit this week as the focus of a comment that spiralled out of control. It all started with an AMA that devolved into something else entirely, but one exchange stood out.
One user asked the representatives that had been sent to partake in the AMA a simple question about the firm’s reputation for selling stolen keys, and what the G2A opinion of that was. A long and somewhat combative reply was his reward, in which the rep claimed G2A do ‘everything we can’ to prevent such issues, but that is far from where the story ends.
The reply turned into a back and forth between the user and a G2A rep in which it turned out the comment had come from a person who actually sold and bought items through the site, and was able to contradict the claims made by the G2A rep directly with screenshots and hard evidence. Strangely though, rather than respond with the humility and thanks you’d expect from a big company having gaps in their net exposed, G2A decided the best way to deal with the issue was to fight facts with fire.
In short, the user was banned from using the site, and also had all funds currently invested therein frozen, in what is probably one of the most humorous PR failures of 2017 so far (Trump squad excluded). ‘Gabi’, as the G2A rep involved in the exchange is known, may not have destroyed the firm overnight, but there is no doubt the conversation only served to double down on G2A’s rep, and should be recorded as a ‘how not to’ for aspiring communications students.
Finally, we can’t work out if this is a case of ‘fellow kids’ or something really cool, but eSports broke another barrier this month by becoming the subject of an episode of a TV drama. Sherlock-based CBS product Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as the fictional sleuth, is set to air an eSports themed plot called ‘Rekt in Real Life’, which will see a number of FGC members appear on screen while the plot centres around a fictional eSports star that dies after being assaulted on-stream.
Whether this brings in a whole new audience remains to be seen, but it’s just another sign that eSports is growing to the point where other media outlets want a piece of the pie, even if it’s just in the background of a few shots. As for Miller, we haven’t managed to contact him, but we assume he prefers SF4 to SF5, and only plays Fox on Final Destination.
DreamHack adds extra NA events to their Hearthstone schedule
ESL One moves to Hamburg after three years in Frankfurt
Lunatic Hai suspend two OW players for improper conduct
Astralis take their first major title, beating Virtus.pro to ELEAGUE gold
SEA casting team announced, Babael returns to Heroes
Matches of the Weekend
Team NP face Digital Chaos at Starladder i-League
ThijsNL takes on Lifecoach this Sunday in a charity invitational
Dignitas take on new sensation Team Expert in HGC EU
Events to catch
HGC South Korea gets underway
ESL NZ for CS was announced this week
The Trinity series for Hearthstone continues
Everyday Influences need a junior Talent Manager to work in LA
A Video Network Senior Account and Partnership Manager is sought by ESL
SickOdds, a new betting site, need a copywriter
Astralis kicking it old school after their ELEAGUE win (credit to SuperstituM)....
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