Back in July of this year, during the offseason between the sixth and seventh seasons of play at ESEA, the North American TF2 scene was involved in a bit of a fracas with its ESEA overlords. In a thinly veiled attempt to scrape more cash from a scene that, even then, was showing symptoms of decline, it was announced that there would be no TF2 division during Season 7 unless the scene as a whole did the league’s promotional work for them, and recruited enough new blood to the Open division to reach a rather arbitrary number of 50 teams. There was much backslapping and rejoicing amongst top teams when this goal was ‘reached’ (we had to count the IM teams too) to ‘save the game,’ and the precious quarterly LAN event for the three teams that will be making the journey this weekend.
Said fracas spawned plenty of threads on numerous venues, but I couldn’t help but recall one in particular when I saw this note regarding coverage for this weekend’s tournaments posted on ESEA’s website:
The cases were hauled, the computers were prepped, and the venue setup is nearing completion. It's time for the ESEA S7 LAN featuring the CS 1.6, CS:Source, and TF2 invite division playoffs, oh and $29,500 in cold hard cash is sitting in the hotel safe ready for its winners. As with all ESEA matches, there will be live scores, automated statistics, and live SpecTV broadcasts in addition to the breaking news, expert analysis, pictures, and tons of player interviews from our ESEA News teams.
The discussion that came to mind was on on CommFT, in which Craig Levine made a rare appearance outside the venue of his own network of sites. In the comment thread of this post he included:
We are the only organization to support the TF2 community each season with a cash prize pot (not some useless prizes) spread across multiple divisions and the only organization to support the TF2 community with a LAN event (this season will feature a high quality, well produced, live stream).
The fact that CEVO doles out cash prizes for their TF2 divisions is beside the point. It’s clearly stated here that this season will feature a live stream at the LAN finals, and I couldn’t help but take the qualifiers as a passive dig on the coverage that myself and my team produces at TGBF (47 shows over three seasons for those keeping score). I can’t see any mention of such a live stream actually being present in more recent write-ups of this weekend’s in-house coverage. I’ve literally been looking for a half hour now for any sign of a stream before publishing this, and can’t.
Craig Levine has not responded to a request for comment.