Independent streamers vs Tournament Organizers

Dota 2 Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani

Title image photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

In a story as old as time, there continues to be tension and heated discussions between independent streamers and Tournament Organizers during events. 

Just over two years ago, the most infamous case of Tournament Organizers banning and removing independent streamers from broadcasting their events made headlines. It was the case of ESL in 2018, just shortly after the organization announced its exclusive streaming deal with Facebook for all of the Pro Circuit events. Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg, Peter "ppd" Dager, Brian "BananaSlamJamma" Canavan were front and center as ESL had issued them a DMCA for streaming their event and then Valve stepped in to clarify their stance on the debacle essentially reiterating that it will be allowed:

 "It’ll be our judgment alone on who violates this guideline and not any other third party’s."

ESL then issued an apology to fans on reddit.

Since then there have been several incidents that have popped up regarding the same exact issue, despite Valve's explicit ruling. 

The most recent was regarding WePlay and BTS attack taking action against a streamer named ColdFox just a few days ago. The issue has since sparked a firestorm of tweets, Reddit posts, and discussions from personalities and fans across the Dota 2 landscape. 

Team Tournament Organizers

While Valve HAS weighed in previously on the issue, many are stating that the ruling is not appropriate and creates problems for the Tournament Organizers as outlined in this thread by the Senior Vice President of Product for ESL

Although accused of taking 40% of revenue by streaming (which isn't exactly accurate) it IS clear that many fans outside the industry think that Tournament Organizers are 'rolling in the dough' for hosting events - which is even much, much, much further from the truth. 

In previous off-record conversations with several high profile employees at some of the top Dota 2 Tournament Organizers, this writer can confidently say that many are operating at losses or barely keeping their heads above water. Sentiments that have been voiced publicly over the years by the likes of Vlat, Sunsfan, and BTS since crowdfunding has been nixed by Valve. Clearly the decline in events being hosted outside the DPC events is also an indicator of the struggles of organizers. 

Team Streamers

As indicated in the above tweet, the biggest outcry and opposition comes from streamers such as Bulldog (tweets have since been deleted) who use the events as part of their streaming content and interactions with the community. They and their fans maintain the stance that they are providing what viewers want, they are giving an alternative that some prefer and are performing a service as well.

Many believe that if the tournaments are being threatened by the loss of viewers on the official stream they should be looking at what they are doing wrong to keep or attract those viewers. Others indicate language preferences are also an issue as most official streams are in three languages: English, Russian, and Chinese. 

Others maintain that it still benefits the organizers in the long term and is still something they gain from. 

Who is right?

Obviously, each side has a vested interest in their stance and stands to lose something of value when Valve rules against them. Since for now, Valve has already made it clear which party they are siding with, it is more of a theoretical question of ethics and which is truly in the best interest of the health and longevity of the Dota 2 scene. 

So, despite their ruling..... who is right? And who is left? Should the ruling be changed or did Valve get it right the first time? Which team are you on?


Which team are you on?

Tournament Organizers
Thank you for voting!
Valve and the streamers
Thank you for voting!
Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani
Pandora is a behind the scenes Dota 2 professional Jack of All Trades. When not busy with Dota 2 work, she is out trying to save the world or baking cupcakes. Follow her on Twitter @pandoradota2


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