Today saw the start of the start of the ESL ESEA Pro League Dubai invitational, which pits eight pro CS:GO teams against each other, including Virtus.Pro and Cloud9. The tournament will continue until Saturday, and while the focus would normally be on the performance of the players, some issue with the venue and the schedule have stolen the limelight somewhat.
A Reddit thread popped up today bemoaning the situation and quickly racked up comments from dissatisfied viewers and attendees. The main issue appears to be with the venue, which is an outdoor stadium. I lived in Dubai for two years, and despite being a Scot who loathes the heat, I was mostly fine thanks to the prevalence of almost Arctic air conditioning. Outdoors, the AC isn’t quite as effective, especially when you throw in lots of bodies and PCs.
The event was meant to take place in the evening, when the temperature becomes a wee bit more bearable, but with the teams jumping from six to eight, a lot of the games have been and will continue to be played on-site but offstage earlier in the day, with attendees unable to watch, which is obviously far from optimal.
A source at ESL explained that this tournament has been rather unconventional, leading to some of the issues that were raised on Reddit and elsewhere. ESL is not actually hosting the tournament, the Dubai Tourism Group is with the ESL being guests. It seems like this has made it a bit more challenging to deal with technical issues that have arisen.
Then there’s the issue of the matches that aren’t open to the public. Initially, only six teams were going to be invited, but the community were keen to see more teams compete, so ESL added two more and best of three elimination matches. This meant that more games needed to be organised, which might not have been a problem in Europe or anywhere not as hot as the UAE, but with the outdoor arena and the sweltering heat, no extra stage time could be added before 6pm.
The result was that the extra matches would have to be played indoors. That they weren’t on the main stage isn’t the complaint, however, it’s that they weren’t open to the public and there was no way to view them. This unfortunate situation seems to have stemmed from the fact that, in this tournament, ESL has had to make do with an external casting crew who were only booked from 6pm onward, and it wasn’t possible to make the necessary changes that would allow attendees to watch those matches.
Despite these issues, the tournament continues and since a hiccup this morning that caused some PCs to stop working, there haven’t been any more delays. You can catch some of the matches here on Twitch.
ESL also made its own announcement on Reddit earlier today.
Have you been watching the tournament on Twitch or from the venue itself? What have you made of it so far?