Big open brackets suck. A lot.
This weekend at MLG Vegas, we're seeing a vestige of esports days gone by, the giant open bracket, where 160 teams of 4 are competing for $100,000 in prizes. The event is three days long, so this means, in a full double elimination bracket, there are hundreds and hundreds of matches crammed into about 15 hours a day.
So how are teams doing in this environment? Let's let the players speak for themselves:
Never understood how much a grind open bracket was until today only having my 1st meal of the day.— Jordan Reed (@Reedy_1905) December 18, 2016
Ggs to C9 lost last map playing for 9 hours has really fucked me up can't wait to play tomorrow— Zach (@ElevateZed) December 18, 2016
Finally, the day is over! I feel awful. Time for bed, that c9 series was a struggle— Watson (@JoshWatson) December 18, 2016
And check out this conversation between the owner of Splyce, a medical professional, and reporter Jacob Wolf:
This is a serious issue. Pros need a more clear way to get food during long days. There are many ways to solve this. https://t.co/GMZUcTwEZO— Bad Hombre Lazer (@Lazerchickenzzz) December 18, 2016
@Lazerchickenzzz Agreed. There's both a physical and cognitive decline in function without appropriate nutrition/hydration.— Caitlin McGee, DPT (@CaitMcGeePT) December 18, 2016
In what world is this ok? What other sport treats their athletes like this? From the above, this is clearly not isolated and it has a real effect on players.
In the past, this was somewhat understandable. Leagues didn't have the resources to coordinate long events, and the scene was much less professional. Teams for a long time were just groups of players that were really good, and were used to grinding out 14 hour days because it was more a game, not a job.
Nowadays, players are more athletes. Major teams compete with huge sponsors and in many cases, the players are full time salaried players for their respective squads.
That being the case, there has to be a shift to smaller offline events. Yeah, it seems really cool to have hundreds of teams in one place competing for a huge title and a good bit of money, but that just doesn't work any more.
Most esports have transitioned away from this model, and those that still use them need to implement basic scheduled breaks and caps on daily matches for players.
More esports influencing from Knocke: VP Signing Players to a 4-Year Contract is a Very Sports-Like Thing, and That's Awesome | Big, Convoluted Brackets Make for Bad Storylines | Overwatch Esports is Getting Better to Watch... Slowly