Our fast-moving Esport industry never ceases to surprise us – for better or worse. Here are the main facts and trends for this week!
Hello Manchester, hello Lisbon
This week, Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon joined the “Sports Clubs going Esports” club, along with Besiktas, Santos, Saski Baskonia, Schalke 04, Valence, West Ham and Wolfsburg. Most of them use the conservative path, adding FIFA players, but somes as Shalke also added a LoL roster.
Can’t wait to see which next clubs are going to enter the fray – and on which games. Rumors has it that Manchester United is in a bidding war with Fnatic over an Overwatch team… The Mercato just reached a whole new level.
SK Drama, s02e04
Want some CS:GO drama? Here we go. We thought the SK / Luminosity poaching saga came to a conclusion, with both club coming to an agreement, with the Brazilian talents going under the German banner.
Everybody was about to get back into business until the biggest of them all suddenly cut ties: the ELeague notified both SK (aka ex-LG) and Team X (aka ex-SK) that these roster changes made them ineligible for the $1.2M league. We later learned that 7 other teams pressured the commissioner to ban SK and Team X. tl;dr: “It’s us or them”.
ELeague is now facing its first crisis, but it may be the last, as the Turner/IMG project could switch to another game next season…
Gambling is ruining CS
While CS:GO is an undisputed top tier Esport, it still suffers from two majors flaws which could cost it endorsement from companies like Turner/IMG. The first one remains realistic violence. It is and it will always be a challenge to broadcast a game about terrorism, bombs, automatic rifles and headshot for a wide audience. While most Esport fans don’t mind and see through the decorum, sponsors and media are still struggling with the game’s thematics.
The second issue is more rampant: since Valve introduced the weapon skin system, players went nuts over over-painted knives and stickers. Some say it saved the game which was struggling traction. Some say it’s killing it right now. Gambling skins has become a huge part of the game.
These past few weeks have seen numerous community leaders such as Mohamad “m0E” Assad, Trevor Martin or Josh OG caught red-handed with betting frauds. Some were sponsored by the gambling services, other owned equity shares in the services they promoted in their videos and streams.
While the community rages and the analysts worry, Valve hasn’t really taken a stand on the matter. That might hurt slowly but surely – like an incendiary grenade.
The more the merrier
In the meantime, Esport is still attracting more and more people. The ESL One currently taking place in Cologne sold more than 14,000 seats and is poised to break some viewership records.
The International 2016 is receiving money from the community at an impressive rate and may go beyond the unthinkable $20M money prize mark by August.
EVO 2016 will host the largest LAN tournament in history, as more than 5,000 players registered for the Street Fighter V competition alone, while 2600+ will fight for the Smash Bros Wii U champion title. #feelsgoodman