Is civil war about to break out within the CSGO betting community? There is growing disharmony among fans and esports commentators over the BLAST Pro Series.
A number of fans have started a campaign to pressure BLAST Pro Series owners RFRSH Entertainment into reducing the number of events in a calendar year. Critics believe this would help ensure the quality at top events, such as the Intel Extreme Masters series and DreamHack Masters series.
What is the situation at present?
Over the past few years, the top esports teams have tended to compete against each other regularly at the big-money events. We’re talking DreamHack, IEM, and ESL Ones.
For many fans, these events are the pinnacle of CS:GO esports. However, since RFRSH Entertainment announced the BLAST Pro Series, the company has also signed up a number of the top teams within the CS:GO community. These include Astralis, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Cloud9, and Team Liquid.
As part of that agreement, each team must play at a total of five of the seven BLAST Pro Series events throughout the year. These tournaments boast prize pools of £250,000, but they have been roundly criticized for not being anywhere near as competitive as other CS:GO tournaments.
Fans complain that teams play far fewer games (often best-of-one contests with no Swiss format). And only the top two teams go through to the Grand Final, with no playoffs.
The real issue
However, it is the decision by teams to skip some of the top non-BPS events that really seems to have rankled fans and commentators.
Last year, Astralis caused a stir when they announced they would forgo a couple of top events in the Americas due to excessive traveling.
At face value, it was a sensible choice. It’s a lot of airline miles to be sure. Yet news of Team Liquid skipping the upcoming ESL One Cologne brought about a swift response on social media from a number of eminent commentators, including Duncan “Thorin” Shields. He tweeted:
“If Team Liquid are really skipping ESL One Cologne but playing at Blast Pro Series Los Angeles then that is some seriously disappointing sh*t and it’s time we had a serious discussion about what the f*ck the CS:GO tournament event is any more.”
The BLAST Pro Series has already expanded to seven events. And one of the most famous CS:GO casters, Matthew “Sadokist” Trivett, is reporting the number of events will increase next year.
“The rumour currently is 9 or 12 events next year,” Sadokist stated last week. “If this is true and the format does not change, you might as well change CS:GO from esports to entertainment. The circuit will be a mess.”
The news has already seen fans express dismay. They have even started a protest campaign on Reddit under the label #BLASTOFF.
The founding Reddit post is ineloquent but reads:
“It’s not that I dislike blastpro [sp] tournaments, actually they are pretty fun from an entertainment point of view. Have it 1-2 maximum 3 times per year, however the way they are trying to go for more, they will be killing the rest of the more quality tournament with actual competitive prestige.”
The general fear in the community is that by watering down the schedule with another three to five BLAST Pro Series tournaments next year, the contractual obligations of the teams signed up with RFRSH will begin to take full precedence.
As yet, Sadokist hasn’t elucidated how he knows BLAST Pro Series plans to increase in size next year. There has been no movement from Valve or any of the big players within the CS:GO esports community to try and reach a mutually beneficial resolution. However, the time to achieve that is definitely running out.
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