CS:GO’s week of tournament disasters are a cautionary tale

Having recovered from the heady heights of the second Major of the year, CS:GO tournament organisers have run into a week of reminders that not all events go swimmingly.

Trouble began brewing at the start of the week as Slovenian tournament Gaming Paradise failed to begin on schedule as PCs had not been delivered on time.

The tournament, organised by little-known company The Gaming Resorts, was to feature many of the top tier teams from CS:GO and Dota 2, however shortly after the initial delays for CS:GO became apparent, the company then declared the Dota side of proceedings was cancelled.

After this, a further run of bad luck and mismanagement saw all PCs needing new GPUs fitted, rumours of the CS:GO tournament being cancelled and – in a bizarre twist – players’ passports being held by police as their food and accomodation bills had not been paid at the hotel.

The withholding of passports was a particular issue, as most teams at the tournament needed to leave promptly to make it to Dubai for the ESL ESEA Invitational – a situation further complicated for several members of Titan’s team who were hospitalised with a mystery fever.

Further financial disagreements between organisers and production equipment hire companies caused the stream to be taken offline for several hours before being re-established at a far lower broadcast quality.

The end result saw player contracts being hastily redrafted on-site to allow matches to be played out off-camera and an eventual winner declared, while teams scrambled to get their passports returned.

The fallout of this disastrous attempt to organise a world class event is The Gaming Resorts’ CEOSaša Buli? stepping down from his position at the company.

"When I do the next tournament, these things will not happen ever," Buli? told Swedish site AftonBladet."I will probably move down from this position and find someone that can do it better."

Part of the handling of these problems could be put down to inexperience, as the company was founded less than a year ago and was attempting to put on a seven-day event with $150,000 of prize money.

However even established companies like ESL and their transatlantic tandem partner ESEA have stumbled this week.

Evacuating Slovenia and heading for Dubai for the $250,000 Invitational, top tier teams found themselves jumping out of the frying pan directly into the fire, almost to a literal extent.

The stage, as part of the Dubai Tourism Board-organised Games 15 event in the UAE capital, appears to be an outdoor stage as fans have reported today.

Though no matches with an audience are expected until 7pm local time, it is currently 37C and temperature is expected to remain as high as the mid-30s for the next five hours.

The situation echoes concerns over next year’s upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in which footballers will be playing in similar heat.

CS:GO is slightly less physically taxing than 90 minutes of football, but series can go on for upwards of 5 hours if a best-of-5 goes long, and such long exposure to heat can be dangerous – for fans and players.

The take home lesson, then, must be that eSports events still require a huge amount of preparation – despite the constant successes we appear to see from large-scale organisers.

The consequences of failure extend far beyond financial or reputational losses, too, when the health of players is adversely affected.

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