Cologne (dpa) – After the ESL Championship in Counter-Strike stagnated in the pandemic, a merger with the 99Damage Liga should set the league up for the future. But No Limit Gaming is disappointed after the first season – and sees lions for the league’s future.
“We had ten full-time teams in the league, and they all invested money in Counter-Strike because we were hoping something big would happen in the future,” NLG founder and managing director Stefan Schilhabel says in an interview with the German press. Agency.
But not enough money was returned from the scene because there was not enough interest: “I hardly know anyone who voluntarily does German Counter-Strike.”
ESL Championship: NLG Only with Hobby Team
The organization took a place in the league at the beginning of 2019, making it one of the young teams. A full-time paid line will be very expensive in the future.
At the beginning of the year, organizers ESL and Freaks 4U Gaming merged the two German Counter-Strike leagues. Since then, Freaks 4U from Berlin-Spandau has been the organizer. Schelabel accuses him of focusing more on other games – like League of Legends or Valorant. “Counter-Strike is kind of like an unloved kid that you kind of sit in. Like if you’re planning to close the store at some point.”
However, the league cannot be the biggest source of income for the teams, as Sprout’s Danielle Paulos resists. “You have a lot of opportunities to gain attention and reach. So it is up to the institutions themselves to follow this path and be successful in some way,” he says in an interview with the German news agency (dpa). To do this, the teams will have to compete in international tournaments in order to be interesting to the sponsors.
Counter-Strike: Players’ salaries explode during Corona
In the view of Lennart Kreuter, project manager at Alternate Attax, salaries in the German scene are often too high. “If you sign with a team, it brings you success and it reaches you, and that’s how you get sponsors,” he said in an interview with the German news agency (dpa). “If the players say I want this and that, but don’t give anything in return, you have no way of getting sponsors.”
Despite lower salaries, teams from other countries are often more successful in international competition, Paulus said.
Criticism of the live broadcast of the ESL Championship
Schillhabel primarily criticized the quality of the live broadcast, which did not live up to expectations with faulty graphics, for example. The organizers will ignore the notes, and some bugs have not been fixed to this day.
“If you eat something eight times and nothing responds, then at some point you stop criticizing,” Schilhabel says. There are also very few reports on the 99Damage website. According to Freaks 4U, everyone involved always has the opportunity to provide feedback. You are in close contact.
Sprout and Attax share some criticisms of NLG. “I’ve spoken to people from ESL, Freaks 4U and other teams because I found the season disastrous. Everyone was completely unsatisfied,” says Paulus. “Somehow the solution didn’t come. And why? In the end, only Freaks 4U can say it.” However, he notes that those responsible for him have always been subject to criticism.
LoL league Prime League becomes a role model
The fact that the ESL Championship, for example, lags behind the League of Legends league Prime League, which is also organized by Freaks 4U and financially backed by Riot Games, is no surprise from Alternate’s point of view.
“Fans should be made aware that it makes sense for an ESL tournament not to have the same budget,” says Kreuter. “You can’t rent a studio with a couple of actors, an analyst, and a presenter, and that doesn’t work alone.”
However, Schillhabel believes that a similar level can be achieved with the right effort from regulators. “The product built with the Prime League can also be built if you invest and take the risk,” Schelabel says. Then it can also work without the financial support from the publisher. “If the number of viewers is right, you will be able to win sponsors there as well.”
The organizer wants to improve the financing
On the other hand, Freaks 4U refers to the versions that already exist. “The organizers are investing significant amounts in order to realize the weekly live broadcast or, more recently, to implement a studio finale in Berlin,” the company explained in a statement. “We are currently working on different models to improve the monetization of the league.”
While NLG will only have one unpaid team in the forward league, Sprout and Alternate Attax are committed to the ESL Championship. “I don’t think the kid ever fell into the well, but he’s sitting on the sidelines,” Kreuter says of the league’s condition. “We are at ground zero, but if everyone comes together, I am convinced that it can be saved again.”
Paulus also believes in improvement: “We all know it’s not acceptable and has to change, and I’m assuming very strongly that everything will get a lot better next season.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220527-99-455853 / 4