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Kingmakers, continued

in glhf

Ok, I’ll attempt to turn the sarcasm off and just level a bit.

I don’t need consolation, and I’m not confused. It seems pretty clear what the plan is. You’d really like for everyone to get behind the idea that somehow injecting some esports folk into large corporate ad campaigns is going to spell growth for the entire scene. I think you’ve got that equation backwards.

It’s also not the case that I don’t like you, as I don’t actually know you, really. So I also won’t be doing the following, as one of your followers so eloquently put, ‘#suckadickup #tilltheyhiccup.’ Hey, now here’s a clever chap ready for a big hookup with a major beverage and/or clothing corporation! (Damn, there went the sarcasm filter…)

What I do need is a bit of rationality, and esports doesn’t have a very large supply of it. It’s not a scene littered with success stories. This has been the driving force behind a good 95% of the content on this here blog. I see many entities, large and small, doing stupid things with good money every day in esports. All of them (top management of a certain dead league or two excluded) have had perfectly good intentions. I’m sure you’re probably no different. That doesn’t change the whole stupid stuff with good money bit.

The rub is that I don’t think what you’re planning is going to have an impact for anybody save for the odd handful or two that you hook up with endorsements. I mean, you can’t possibly hook everyone up with lucrative contracts. Even if you do manage to bring a handful of decent deals into esports even in the next five years, it’s not going to translate to discernable changes in the realities of most people trying to make it in this sector.

Endorsement deals are great, but lets be real, they only benefit the people that sign on the dotted line. To say that White’s deal with Target is somehow bringing vast benefits to snowboarding at large is a stretch and a half. It’s great for White, and it’s great for awareness of Target or Stride amongst people that know White and see him in an ad. Anything else? No, really that’s it.

See, I tend to think of these things as symptoms of success, and not the triggers. Plenty of activity around esports is designed around manufacturing these symptoms instead of building actual value into the scene.

But really, the fulcrum point for me was this: one of your executives thinks that soccer is on the decline in the US. That alone blows a giant hole in the perception of your organization’s grasp of trends in the sports world, one giant enough to drive a Target truck through.

This hole was widened several times by the constant prattling on about Hawk and White, presenting a view that a surge in interest around their respective sports was due in large part to their involvement in corporate marketing campaigns, as opposed to organic ground-swells under nobody’s particular control or direction – they benefited from being the right guy at the top of their scenes at exactly the right time. It seems you’re thinking you can manufacture such conditions, and the probability of anybody being able to do that are incredibly small.

Using a conversational device to point out that these two guys were the only examples brought up wasn’t done as a cheap shot, it was done to point out that, without Google, most people would be very pressed to come up with an additional name from either sport. I certainly couldn’t. It’s central to the argument! The interview opens with lip service to how shallow the scene’s trickle-down economics is currently, leading to a discussion regarding your game plan towards propping up a handful of select people on really tall pedestals. It’s completely contradictory.

Then, being adamant about how television is going to deliver esports simply shows that there’s no grasp of the lessons we’ve all learned in the past several years. We can’t beg our way onto television and expect it to work out well for us, we need to grow to the point where the coverage comes to us, and it’s done on our terms. We’ve got a lot of work to do before esports is ready to be put on that sort of stage a second time, or it we’ll just end up repeating that story.

If you guys can’t see anything to these notions, if there’s no admitting that large portions of this Forbes interview were positively laughable, then we simply don’t have any common ground on which to even open a discussion on where esports needs to go, and where help is most needed.

All the same, best of luck to you guys, and I hope you find a place in the larger ecosystem that works.