Community backlash against ESL for Katowice Major schedule

Dota 2 Cristy “Pandoradota2” Ramadani

Photo courtesy of ESL

ESL has once again found themselves facing community backlash, this time due to the ESL One Katowice Major schedule released.

Update: ESL has responded on reddit promising to look into some options to ease the frustrations of fans and improve the experience for fans attending. 

The organization released details regarding their schedule a few days ago when the groups had been drawn. At that time, few people seemed to either realize or bring to the forefront that the playoffs would be held only over a period of two days, including one (of two) quarter final matches and the two semi finals happening on the first day and the grand finals taking place on the last day. As with previous events, the group stage would not be held on the main stage at Spodek Arena.

Today, fans and personalities have taken to social media and reddit to express their frustration with the information. Many of the complaints come regarding the cost to travel, accomodations and ticket prices for only two days worth of matches. Tickets were released for sale on January 30th and as of five days ago 90% of the premium tickets were already sold at the cost of approximately $117.00. Weekend passes cost approximately $29.25 and while there is a free option for fans to attend, it does not include signing sessions, is a late entry of two hours after ticket buyers and entry is via long waiting line for any available seats. 

Although ESL One Genting did have a group stage viewing option for fans, nothing has been announced yet for ESL One Katowice.

As previously announced, all of ESL One's Pro Circuit events would be following the same format with the same number of participating teams. ESL One Genting format was the same as ESL One Katowice, however it took place over the course of six days, with the playoffs being held from January 26-28th including one full day of quarter finals, one full day of semi finals and the grand finals being held on the last day. With one day less, ESL has condensed the playoff portion into only two days.

Previous backlash over streaming

The is not the first time in recent months that ESL has received backlash from the community. The first was several weeks ago when the organization announced their exclusive streaming deal with Facebook for all of the Pro Circuit events. At that time many lashed out for the 'poor choice' of streaming platform that was expected to have some problems and cut out much of the viewer experience.

It was barely the choice of platform that caused ESL the most problems however, as they then started to ban and remove any stream outside of their official broadcast. Henrik "AdmiralBulldog" Ahnberg, Peter "ppd" Dager, Brian "BananaSlamJamma" Canavan, MLP Dota and Rawdota TV were among those that were shut down and ESL issued a statement on their interpretation of a previous statement issued by Valve on independent streamers broadcasting games from the client.

Shortly later, Valve stepped in to clarify their stance on the debacle essentially reiterating that it will be allowed and "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:

Over the last few days we were wrong in how we acted in multiple instances, and this post is to apologize to you, fans of esports and community streamers affected.
We were wrong in how we kicked off streaming on Facebook and we were wrong in handling the follow-up with the community, the communication here and the DMCAs which we have since retracted.
The introduction of Facebook as our new broadcast platform did not go as it should have. Instead of focusing on ironing out the kinks, engaging in the right kind of dialogue with you and incorporating your legitimate feedback we were busy following protocol and defending our actions. We should have simply let the community streamers do their thing while focusing on getting our end right. Regardless of having or not having the right to do so, taking down streamers that provide a good experience while we aren’t is not the way to go about things.
We were in the wrong. We will learn from it and go forward.

ESL One Katowice Major

The ESL One Katowice Major will take place on February 20-25 at the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland with a total of 16 teams entering the battle for the $1,000,000 prize pool and 1500 TI8 qualifying points.

ESL One Katowice Major teams:

Russia Virtus.pro
Europe Team Secret
Europe Team Liquid
United States Evil Geniuses
South East Asia Mineski
China Vici Gaming
Ukraine Natus Vincere
China Newbee
Poland Team Kinguin
Europe OG
Russia Effect
United States compLexity Gaming
Peru Infamous
China LGD Gaming
Malaysia Fnatic
United States OpTic Gaming



Weigh in: What is your take on the situation?

ESL seems to be out of touch these days
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Fans and personalities have gotten too picky
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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


  • Rong "xiaorong29" Xiao ,
    First, the info regarding schedule was already announced 3months ago in a reddit post and their website. I think the problem was it was not properly communicated especially to the ones attending the event. Second, rawdota was not shut down. I know it because im watching his stream til finals instead of the shitty fb stream. Esl should step up their game or else it will further disappoint the community.
    • Cristy "Pandoradota2" Ramadani ,
      I don't know about 3 months ago but 4 series only was definitely announced earlier in the week when the groups were drawn and ppl didn't seem to mention much about it at that time... "The organization released details regarding their schedule a few days ago when the groups had been drawn. At that time, few people seemed to either realize or bring to the forefront that the playoffs would be held only over a period of two days" But yea... a few days ago still isn't enough time for those that already made plans and is interesting that many ppl didn't seem to catch/know it I'll confirm with Henry on his stream since it was reported to me that it was shut down for a bit at one point---- thanks!
      • Rong "xiaorong29" Xiao ,
        True. Not enough info campaign considering majority of your audiences dont know it. They indeed announce that only semis and finals will be played in the arena though. If youre interested, heres the reddit post 3 months ago. https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/78flq6/esl_one_katowice_2018_major_announced/dotq254/?context=3


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