Should More Money be Invested in the Amateur Halo Scene?
Money is what moves this world and allows us to continue being productive as human beings. Money inspires us to continue working and perfecting our craft all the way until we are satisfied with the position we are in. Money is the magical tool that can turn a small idea into a massive success and money is what drives our competitive community.
Now most competitors may automatically say that they don’t compete just for the money and they genuinely have a strong love for the game. This is a very true statement as most of us don't make anything off of this game, but the money invested in our community doesn't just directly impact the players themselves.
Production, advertisement, renting a venue and travel all cost money. In many scenarios, the money invested in the event itself may cost the tournament host more money than the amount they invested in the prize pool. A lot of money has been invested in Pro League, so the same factors I listed above are the factors ESL and 343 need to consider when running the Pro League, but would our community benefit from ESL and 343 investing some more time and money into the amateur scene?
When trying to determine whether or not it would be wise to invest more money in our amateur community, we need to look past the talent itself. Everyone at this point who has actively watched Pro League or open circuit matches of any competitive livestream should know that there is a lot of talent emerging in our amateur scene. Young guns who have all the talent in the world and only need an opportunity to prove their worth. Talent is definitely not a factor we need to worry about in this discussion, but factors, such as popularity and professionalism, need to be broken down to properly determine if our amateur community is worthy of more money.
When it comes to the most important factor of popularity “views,” our amateur community heavily slacks in this sector. While most pros average a few hundred views or less in every stream, the top amateur players who stream average just over 100 views or less, which is not good.
Under the assumption that each top amateur player or team would bring their own small fan base to the open circuit streamed matches, we would only average a few hundred views per livestream, meaning that the stream itself would earn penny change compared to the money invested in the open circuit. Outside of live streaming, a lot of these top amateurs still have a small following on other social media platforms, such as Twitter. Most only have a few hundred followers or maybe even less, making it very hard to see any value in these players.
Personally, I hate to determine the value of a player solely off of their following when they invest most of their time perfecting their skill. It is something that I feel is very unfair to the players themselves, but the reality is that unless these competitors are connected to some sort of popular organization or business, they bring very little economic value, which is a very important factor when your thinking about investing money into the amateur scene.
Although ESL and 343 should expect to carry almost all of the financial load by themselves, they may want some additional financial assistance in the future with major sponsors. This is a financial strategy almost every tournament host hopes to have available to them over time, as it offers them more opportunities to improve their service with some of the financial weight taken off their shoulders.
These kinds of sponsors are always taken very serious as there tends to be a lot of money on the line. Typically only solidified companies would look into these kinds of sponsorships and since they have a brand they need to represent, professionalism automatically becomes a factor in a sponsorship. Halo, like almost every other well known esport, is known for having a pretty aggressive and immature amateur community.
Trash talk is a common form of communication amongst most competitors and very often you will see arguments taken too far, which raises a red flag when discussing professionalisim for the amateur community. Just like most people in the community, I enjoy hearing the occasional trash talk, but most of us could agree that it simply isn't a good look for us if our amateur community were to have serious sponsors backing some of our tournaments.
To me, these two factors are the most important I would look into if I were to invest more money into our amateur community. Unfortunately, our amateur community doesn’t do very well in either one of these factors, making me feel that we aren't quite ready just yet for more money to be invested. Our amateur community is still very small and brings very little economic value to ESL and the added problems with maturity ensures the fact that we simply aren't ready for ESL to take things more serious just yet.
Personally, this is something that is very disappointing to me. Most of the amateur competitors have very little to compete for, but this is the reality for pretty much every sport. The money typically is focused around the professional level, while everyone else struggles to find a way to become pro.
A great example of this is the NBA, while the professionals get lucrative, multi-million dollar contracts that set them for life, while every other competitor is trying to fight their way to the top. Even NBA D-League players, who are technically still considered pros, can make less than a private school teacher no matter how much work they put in.
While some may find this to be unfair for the players, one can make the argument that this adds fuel to the fire within these aspiring players. It makes you hungrier to get into the NBA, therefore forcing you to perfect your craft and make you the best possible player you can become.
This same exact concept can then be applied in competitive Halo. While the pros enjoy their contracts, sponsors and popularity, the amateurs are still at the bottom of the food chain, fighting for a Pro League spot, and the desire to be in the same position as the pros forces them to try even harder.
What do you think about more money being invested in the amateur scene? Let me know in the comments section below.
Zachery Chevere can be contacted on Twitter @PmL_Zarhaz
Image credits go to The Score, VrFocus, BBC, Market Watch and Halo eSportsPedia