Opinion: The CS:GO Tournament Scene is Like the Oil Industry

by Kevin Knocke

Yeah, like the oil industry. You read that headline right.

At least for this analogy: Broadly speaking and vastly over-generalizing for the sake of brevity, the oil industry has been in a weird spot the last few years in regards to production.

Every major oil producer recognizes how valuable of a resource oil is, and despite sustained periods of oil falling in price, no producer wanted to cut production as that would mean losing market share in one of the world's largest industries. Everyone was betting on the long term game of chicken they were playing as prices continued to fall.

Now, there are many nuances and politics to consider with oil, of course, but broadly speaking, CS:GO tournaments are kind of a microcosm of that.

Right now, every major esports organization recognizes that there's a potential figurative pot of gold at the end of the CS:GO consolidation rainbow, so most drama and moves lately in the scene revolve around exclusivity. Queue the PEA drama.

Leagues and teams are angling to own some measure of exclusivity because selling the broadcast rights to an exclusive CS:GO league in this day and age could be worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, if the recent LCS broadcast rights sales are any indication.

With that in mind, no one wants to let go of their market share, so there's been a ton of noted oversaturation in the scene.

Just a couple of hours ago today, the PGL Major in Krakow was announced and is taking place literally one week after ESL Cologne which, in and of itself, will be a huge tournament.

Teams have already stated that they're considering skipping Cologne to practice for the much more important Major.

And on top of that there are a plethora of online matches in ECS and the ESL Pro League that constantly going on. As has been made very clear, online matches suck for top level major esports.

So what needs to happen?

Power needs to go over to the players. Players need to unionize and say, "Enough is enough."

Only the players can outright say, "No, we won't attend this event," or, "No, we won't play in online leagues of importance any more."

Ultimately the power rests with them.

With the recent PEA drama, it was the players that forced the hand of a league to shut down plans for a million dollar CS:GO league.

Once the players unionize, real and fair consolidation can happen. Until then, every league is just going to continue to try strong-arming each other out of the scene.

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