Greetings, and happy new year everyone.
2013 is going to be an exciting one for me, and I hope it is the same for everyone in e-sports.
I have been taking notes on some patterns I am seeing in Korea at the moment, and am now looking to analyse and potentially predict the future of Korean SC2.
Before I start, I want to give a shout out to Mr Alex Garfield, from Evil Geniuses. He probably has done a similar analysis and has made moves to position him self correctly.
I will now explain my point of view.
With EG-TL joining proleague (which was the worst kept secret I have ever seen in sc2 thanks to the ever so Awesome JYP and the korean gossip mill) we saw the first “FOREIGN” (I want to put many “‘s around that word) team in proleague.
The thing about this proleague is 1) You are locked in for 1 year, and 2) the prize money is more than enough to fund an entire team in Korea for 12 months without salary (paying all expenses).
This is starcraft 2, so I am not going to compare it to brood war during its hayday, but it kinda makes the GSTL and GSL look like playhem weeklies from an analytical point of view.
What I see this is, is a power push by proleague to shake out GSL. And its a damn good one.
GOMTV has never formally released its numbers for subscriptions and public viewership, when requested for these numbers, they have outright refused to give them out privately, which handicaps the ESF teams with obtaining sponsorship. Most of the OGN online broadcast numbers are blatantly public, and correctly so. This helps with luring potential investment, and automatically puts the KESPA teams 1 step ahead of the ESF teams.
Locking in the teams for 1 year and having the number of broadcasts as it is, will allow the fans to migrate to the KESPA teams. Lets face it, the production, even though it would be in a “e-stadium” or “giant lan cafe” is still close to the GOMTV production minus the english casters. Casters recently, do not have as much pull as people think, the numbers do not vary dramatically from caster to caster like they used to. People are more attached to players, but this is another story.
Looking past the production of the KESPA run tournament, the prize money is the most important part.
ESF will be lucky to have 4 teams remaining in its organisation by the end of 2013. Why?
Well, for starters its damn hard to sell an ESF korean team, because the event they play in does not allow you to use the numbers to lure sponsors. You have to run on assumed numbers, and explaining why the numbers are not made public to the participants to a corporate person is pretty embarressing.
Investor capital from teams like Azubu, EG, TL etc. will take the majority of ace players from the ESF teams over time. It does not cost much to buy a Korean ace, and the dramatic, emotional mentality of the korean pro gamers basically means if you give them a good offer, they will get so emotional about it that the current team has lost them forever.
I dare say this is the case with parting, but I dont know the story. So don’t quote me on it.
As the aces move on, and most likely crash and burn (the current environment is a breeding ground for talent, the money environment in foreign teams is not. I do not really need to explain my opinion on this) you are left with struggling teams who have to re-do social media and re-advertise their players only to lose them again.
So in the end the ESF teams will most probably remain struggling for the remainder of the existance of ESF.
Again back to the prize money, GSL’s pitiful team league prize pool is a huge reason to look at it and go meh. Its no secret that a large number of the ‘fan favourite’ players do not prepare for the team league if it is not a super important match. The public will notably mention IM as the best team in the world, but they have had some miserable GSTL competitions, and its easy to assume that they do not take it as seriously due to the money aspect, this is heresay, but its safe to assume.
Proleague players live and breath proleague, the games have been a mixture of awesome games, and disgustingly low quality games, but there is a mixture, which keeps it interesting. The new maps from the map team have changed the game slightly which makes it fresh and new, and the prize money is big enough to make it worth while for any time participating. Proleague wins, hands down.
The GSL-KESPA player trading block will end soon enough, and I dare say the KESPA organisations will gather up enough capital to buy anyone that matters to finish off the shake off.
What can GOM do? Well, properly support its teams would be a good start. But I don’t see that happening.
Gather further capital to increase production and prize money. This is possible, but they are now competing in korea with the KESPA org for sponsorships (team 8 for instance).
For those who dont know, south korea is pretty much owned by a bunch of conglomerates. All the major companies are tied to a giant mother company in some way, and the KESPA teams have most of them as sponsors or a part of them as sponsors. So getting a huge company to sponsor GSL from Korea is going to be almost impossible. GSL then needs to some how appeal to a foreign major. Which doing a production in a school hall (or gym or something) won’t achieve. So GOM is essentially stuck in this rut.
As players become more desperate for money, and money coming from either foreign teams, or proleague, I don’t know how ESF can last.
What would I do if I was Gretech?
Sell GSL to KESPA and merge ESF and KESPA. The players don’t like KESPA sure, but its all about survival and money for them in the end.
*My writing is extra rusty today, and I was writing this whilst cleaning my mothers pantry as she likes to keep things that are out of date*
*I no longer am affiliated with the FXOpen e-Sports organisation, so this viewpoint does not reflect the organisations opinion or direction*
You can follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/gosutrading
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