Flashpoint’s new league might be just what the CS:GO community needs. The new Flashpoint league, run by FACEIT, is going toe-to-toe with the established ESL Pro League to compete for viewership and fans. There are also other event organizers like BLAST, DreamHack and Games Clash. With so much competition, Flashpoint will have to do something in order to stay on top. Luckily they have a few tricks up their sleeves.
The main difference between Flashpoint and all the other leagues is that it is team-owned. Some leagues are run by independent organizations and the teams have very little say. Others are run by the game’s publisher such as Riot Games with League of Legends and Blizzard with Overwatch. These large organizers generally call the shots when it comes to their various leagues and leave the players and teams with limited power to make decisions and negotiate.
Flashpoint is doing things differently to distinguish themselves from the other leagues, such as hiring experienced broadcast talent to join them. These include Duncan “Thorin” Shields, a CS:GO veteran, and Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, Renegades founder and former League of Legends and Overwatch analyst. By having outspoken commentators and analysts, they hope to produce better content.
The league would be pointless if they didn’t have high-caliber personalities and Flashpoint has done just that. While ESL has many of the top-ranked professional teams, Flashpoint has gone a different route and put together the most popular on-air talent. Their current rosters may not be at the top of the rankings, but teams like Cloud9 have huge financial backing and the tables may turn once the league is more established.
Many would ask why current ESL teams may be swayed to join Flashpoint in the future. The answer is simple: money. Teams in the ESL Pro League currently get a 65% profit share which might be much lower than the Flashpoint teams who are running their own league. The buy-in fee of $2 million is low compared to many other leagues, and it entitles the teams to Flashpoint’s revenue share. In Flashpoint, all the teams are on the same page and have the same goals. With the other leagues, both the league and the teams often have different agendas that may clash.
In the spirit of doing things differently to other sports leagues, Flashpoint is thinking outside the box and has hired a former WWE writer to help build the players’ personalities. Many esports players prefer to stick to gaming and don’t have well-developed on-camera personalities that resonate with fans. By having a dedicated writer, they may be able to create fascinating rivalries and storylines to further engage viewers. As long as they don’t stray too far into cheesy territory, the format will be refreshing compared to the other league offerings.
There are more than enough fans to be entertained by both leagues. The game is more popular than ever and recently broke its record by hitting the mark of 1,000,000 concurrent players. Despite little support from Valve, CS:GO is one of the most popular esports along with League of Legends and Dota 2. It is also way ahead of first-person shooter competitors like Call of Duty and Overwatch. The recent coronavirus pandemic might have put a dent in Flashpoint’s plans, but the future looks bright. If their model works, we might end up seeing more team-owned leagues in the future.
Sources: The Verge, ESPN
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