ONE Esports Singapore Major debacle; The buck stops where?
ONE Esports Singapore Major is about to kick off tomorrow but instead of celebrating, concerns about health risks and integrity have overshadowed it all.
It should have been the moment that everyone celebrated. Players, fans, community members coming together to share in the excitement and hype that typically surrounds Major events.
But all of the anticipated narratives collapsed. One by one the storylines unraveled.
Six other squads —Team Aster, T1, Team Nigma, Quincy Crew, Na'Vi, and Neon have announced stand-in players for the event, due to COVID-19 concerns or positive PCR tests as well as potentially Virtus.pro. Dota 2 commentator Ioannis "Fogged" Loucas had to pull out of the talent line-up after being exposed to the coronavirus.
Infighting, finger-pointing, stress, and drama on social media and in various communication channels have taken up residence in the pre-event days overshadowing all of the hope and light.
Now we want to know, where did it all go wrong and who should be responsible?
ONE Esports Singapore Major key stakeholders and roles
Hosted by PGL and in partnership with ONE Esports and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the first LAN event since the pandemic started.
One of the biggest key factors towards reducing the spread and managing contagion is isolation. The typical quarantine period is two weeks as the COVID-19 virus has an incubation period of several to 14 days from contact. It can take just as long to show up in tests or show symptoms, not to mention there are also asymptomatic carriers.
For ONE Esports Singapore Major, there was only a 48 hour quarantine period prior to the event. Not only is 48 hours not enough for someone who may be carrying the virus to transmit it to others, but there is also the question of all the travel and time spent in airports/airplanes where the virus could also be contracted.
ONE Esports and PGL are well aware of what happened at PUBG Global Championship when three players tested positive for Covid-19 —and that was with a seven-day isolation period pre-event. LOL Worlds and M2 did a seven-day self-quarantine prior to the 14 days isolation at the tournament location which allowed them time to solve problems should they arise —which to the public's knowledge, didn't.
However, the cost of hotel rooms for almost four weeks to cover the full quarantine and event time period was much too high for the budget most likely and they looked at other ways to handle things.
Sources from both the tournament organization and team side have confirmed to GosuGamers that all teams participating were given a comprehensive set of guidelines regarding self-isolation for at least 10 days leading up to their departure.
Additional measures to mitigate risks the LAN is not being attended by any spectators, teams are arriving in a staggered format and being confined to the hotel and rooms and leaving after elimination. This all reduces contact and hopes to contain any spreading of the virus. But is it really enough?
Most would agree that many things worth having are worth making sacrifices for. And that goes for being able to compete in a LAN environment and begin the road to The International after waiting so long.
After working so hard in the season, teams that qualified could have begun preparations then to ensure their player's health and safety. Many teams had already begun to gather their players at Bootcamp houses in order to train for the big event. This could have already been the start of their self-isolation period, and for several teams was.
But some of those teams didn't self isolate and reports and rumors suggest were going out to birthday parties, eating out at local restaurants, and having visits from their girlfriends.
Unfortunately, some teams had to travel in crowded public spaces in order to even just arrive at their Bootcamp destination, already exposing them and increasing the risk. Some teams don't even have sponsors or team houses and were unable to keep their players under one roof.
Could the team organizations or managers been stricter with the players to ensure they adhered to the self-quarantine? Perhaps issuing warnings and fines for those that would break an isolation contract? Was there a way for the teams to be able to take it more seriously and was it their responsibility to do so?
Reports made to GosuGamers indicate that if a team/player is able to produce a positive PCR test then the team would not receive any penalties for using subs in the event. Was this a potential permission slip then for teams to be slightly more relaxed about their roles since their DPC points were not in jeopardy if something did happen?
The final total for the TI10 prize pool clocked in at $40,018,195 when the crowdfunding and battle pass purchases ended. That is a 2401.14% increase from the original base amount of $1.6 million. Only 25% of the sales contribute to the prize pool meaning that $153,672,780 has been spent on purchases by fans across the globe.
And then there wasn't even a TI10 held ...yet. After being postponed, it now aims to be held in the upcoming summer months. Without a doubt Valve will release another battle pass inviting fans to spend even more and contribute to even higher prize pools.
So how about taking a bit of that money and help to support the only two majors that are being held this season? By taking a portion of the profits that were made on that TI10 battle pass (let's not even mention carving off a slice of the prize pool wouldn't be harmful to anyone either), Valve could have invested it in ensuring players all had the ability to arrive on-site with plenty of time to quarantine, practice and handle all situations that would arise with ample time to spare.
So why didn't they? Should the teams or the organizers have to ask Valve to do so or should they just be expected to handle this? Wouldn't it be in their best interest for this event to go off without a hitch and be a success? Wouldn't it be favorable for them on the heels of the release of the new Netflix animated series to continue to feed off of the hype and excitement?
ONE Esports Singapore Major Chain Reaction
It seems that the entire debacle is a chain reaction. One thing leading into another, a domino effect knocking down all the pieces at an alarming rate.
What's done is done at this point, but there is still one more Major in the DPC 2021 Season and it's imperative that things change for the next round. In order to do so, we need to identify where the chain reaction starts and where the buck stops.
For now, all we can hope and wait for is some amazing performances, dazzling plays, and thrilling series beginning tomorrow, and enjoy some good ole' Dota 2.