BLAST Pro Series has responded to a wave of criticism from the CS:GO community unhappy about the series’ effects on the professional circuit.
Fans are frustrated that Astralis and Team Liquid, two of the best teams in the world, may be prioritizing BLAST’s events instead of traditionally important tournaments, like ESL One Cologne.
Steen Laursen, vice president of communications and brand at RFRSH, BLAST’s parent company, acknowledged the criticism and said the company listens to fans.
At the same time, Laursen told Dot Esports, “We see audience, online and TV numbers increasing and we just came off the most watched tournament online so far. We respect, love and share the passion, but when you try to develop, change or simple do things in a new way, there will always be criticism. Some is valid, some isn’t.”
Fans were particularly unhappy over rumors — shared by popular caster Matthew “Sadokist” Trivett —that BLAST was expanding the number of its events next year. “The rumor currently is 9 or 12 events next year,” Sadokist said. “If this is true and the format does not change, you might as well change CS from esports to entertainment. The circuit will be a mess.”
RFRSH said it does what it can to get its calendar in sync with the rest of the scene. “There is a good and fairly open dialogue around the calendar and we work with every major tournament organizer to create a fair calendar.”
Additionally, RFRSH said its agreements with the teams are no different than what major leagues do. “We have entered into agreements with seven teams to participate in five tournaments,” the rep said. “This is no different than that of the teams and ECS and ESL Pro League.”
The rep added: “There will be changes, but you could say four or 15 tournaments and it would be just as realistic and guesswork.”
As for Sadokist himself, the company said it wasn’t interested in commenting on what it called his “tirades,” but did point out that he was a former employee. “Sadokist has tweeted a lot of interesting things about us since we decided to end the working relationship with him,” the rep said. “Some he has since deleted, some are still out there. He is a great caster, but we really don’t want to comment [on] his tirades.”
Here are Laursen’s responses in full:
One of the most well-known CS:GO casters, Matthew “Sadokist” Trivett rumored that BLAST will run 9-12 tournaments in 2020. Is that correct?
Sadokist has tweeted a lot of interesting things about us since we decided to end the working relationship with him. Some he has since deleted, some are still out there. He is a great caster, but we really don’t want to comment his tirades. We can say that we’re in the middle of an extremely existing first full season, which we are constantly evaluating upon and nothing has been decided for our 2020 calendar yet. This year we have 7 tournaments and a Global Final between the best teams, and from a live audience and viewer perspective, it has been received very well. We have introduced qualifiers and announced that we will work to engage even further with local team and fans, so there will be changes, but you could say 4 or 15 tournaments and it would be just as realistic and guesswork. What matters is that everything we introduce will be with the ambition to add to what fans, teams, players, broadcasters and partners get today.. We have entered into agreements with seven teams to each participate in five tournaments. The teams’ commitment to participate with BLAST is no different than that of the (many more) teams and ECS and ESL Pro League.
What’s RFRSH response to the movement called #BLASTOFF started by CS:GO fans?
When BLAST was first introduced, it was done after almost a year’s travelling watching events, talking to fans, players, broadcasters, team owners etc. All to get the best and deepest insight in what they would like our tournament to be. A lot of the people in the organization have deep roots in the scene and some have spent their entire lives in esports. Of course we see what is talked about and of course we listen to the fans. At the same time, we see audience, online and tv numbers increasing and we just came off the most watched tournament online so far. We respect, love and share the passion, but when you try to develop, change or simple do things in a new way, there will always be criticism. Some is valid, some less valid, but all is relevant as it shows how engaged the scene is. Ultimately we’re on the same page as the fans, though, and even though we can never expect everybody to love or even like us, it will always be our ambition to give more to esports as a whole.
Does BLAST work with other tournament organizers such as ESL, DreamHack, and FACEIT to make a fair calendar for CS:GO?
There is a good and fairly open dialogue around the calendar and we work with every major TO to create a fair calendar. Each tournament has a different identity and somehow complement each other and we have assisted other TO’s as they have us.
Our next tournaments are this coming weekend in Madrid and in July in Los Angeles where tickets go on sale tomorrow. These tournaments will both bring something new to the table and we look forward to more constructive – and direct – feedback from the fans.