FLASHPOINT is a CS:GO tournament series announced last week that is poised to become one of the more important circuits in the CS:GO landscape. Founding teams in the series include Cloud9, GenG, MiBR, C0ntact Gaming, MAD Lions and Dignitas.
The league operates under a unique ownership split that gives teams a legitimate stake in events – a stark contrast to the third-party tournament organizers that have dominated the CS:GO scene for the last decade.
“One thing that is radically different with FLASHPOINT is it’s a team owned league,” said Kent Wakeford, Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of GenG Esports. “So many of the other leagues are a league operator or a game publisher that’s running it. What often happens is there becomes tension between the league on the one hand, and the teams and players on the other hand. With FLASHPOINT we are breaking that barrier down and whatever revenue that comes in is shared with the teams and the players.”
Helping guide the league alongside the cache of esports organizations is a top-tier broadcast talent team that includes Duncan “Thorin” Shields, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, Moses, Semmler, DDK and a host of other mainstays in the FPS and CS:GO worlds. One of the big focuses of FLASHPOINT is allowing these broadcasters to have a real say in the direction the league takes.
“When Thorin and Monte came in, we asked them to give us feedback on the competitive format of the league,” said Dan Fiden, President of Cloud9. “They basically took an enormous shit on it. Then they essentially explained the format we have now and why it’s a better approach. If we were afraid of getting negative feedback, we wouldn’t have gotten to a much cooler and differentiated format.”
One key aspect of that feedback was the focus on adult audiences. The league claims to take inspiration from events like WWE and UFC. CS:GO is obviously a more violent game that many other esports and instead of trying to tone down that violence, FLASHPOINT wants to lean into the core aspects of CS:GO. In addition to being authentic to the audience, that also opens FLASHPOINT up to other opportunities. Chief among them is betting.
“[Betting on esports] is something that people are already doing,” said Dan Fiden. “We are absolutely comfortable with and plan to lean into that element of the community and the fandom of Counter-Strike. We aren’t just talking about making predictions on who will win as everyone does that, something much cooler than that is what to expect from us.”
The tournament series will begin in March 2020 and will have $2 million in prizes awarded over the year. FLASHPOINT promises to unleash the banter, and Fiden and Wakeford join the Esportz Network Podcast to give a taste of that banter.
Written by Mitch Reames