Opinion: Parity Makes Storylines in Esports Even Stronger

by Kevin Knocke

There's a reason the 2007 New England Patriots had so much hype around the prospect of a completely undefeated 19-0 season in the NFL and a reason it was such a big deal when the New York Giants took them down:

When teams are close in skill, it's that much more impressive when extraordinary things happen.

The NFL has reasonable parity up and down the league year in and year out (obviously there are franchises that consistently perform better and those that historically perform worse) which makes a team going completely undefeated all the more impressive.

The more well developed esports become, the greater parity will get. Take a look at CS:GO for example.

At the end of last year, there were over ten events in a row that had a different winner at each event. A lot of fans and analysts wonder if the scene will ever return to a point where a team dominates like Fnatic did last year, or more recently SK Gaming gaming.

Honestly, it probably won't which would make a team that does win back to back to back events that much more amazing.

And that is a wonderful thing for the scene. When a team becomes overly dominant in a sport with decent parity, the only storyline of "WHO CAN BEAT THE JUGGERNAUTS THIS TIME?" becomes infinitely more appealing.

When teams earn status as dynasty in a team with dozens of competitive teams, the records and accomplishments are memorable.

In this weekend's StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals, No. 5 FaZe Clan in the WWG CS:GO Team Rankings defeated No. 1 Astralis in a rematch of the IEM Katowice grand finals.

Astralis has clearly shown the consistency to be called the best team in the world, but it's not a sure bet that Astralis wins every event entered.

This keeps things incredibly fresh with many teams gunning for the top spot. No. 2 Virtus.pro faded off the face of the planet this weekend while FaZe took a big step up with its first big tournament win after acquiring NiKo.

Had Astralis won, the story would have been about a possible return to a dominant, dynasty like run. But Astralis lost in the finals, so now the story is about FaZe's win and how that success can be sustained.

In League of Legends, because Korean teams are so overwhelmingly dominant (most notably marked by SK Telecom T1's triple world championship runs) the storylines in other region feel muted because fans just go, "Oh right, Team SoloMid or G2 Esports may be good in NA LCS and EU LCS but Korean teams will just stomp at Worlds again."

That's not good for the scene.

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