Esports cool guy Ted Ottey retweeted a pretty distressing article from HLTV.org, one of the oldest news sources serving the Counter-Strike community, and it caught my attention almost directly.
I agreed with his first reaction when I originally took the tweet at its face-value. Still, it was a tweet that I saw from Ted, who I haven’t seen a tweet from in a while. My decrease in tweeting lately is similarly reflected in my lack of reading the timeline, I’m sad to say. In any case, the article from HLTV.org reveals some pretty awful details about the situation.
— Ted Ottey (@tedottey) November 28, 2012
First, HLTV had to ask for press credentials so that they could give the event proper coverage. This is to be expected. The company who is running the event, however, declined them any press passes for the event, according to this write-up 1 by staffer Luis ‘MIRAA’ Mira.
Their response came on Wednesday afternoon: we were told that due to “space issues” at the five-star Corinthia hotel, there is not enough room to accommodate one more single journalist inside the venue. We were also told they are unable to hand out more press accreditations at this time, since we are “too close to the event.”
Planning to have an event at a five-star hotel isn’t the most inclusive thing in the world, isn’t it? I mean, at this point, who are you expecting to have attend your event if you hold it at a hotel which is, by its very definition, exclusive?
There should be no “space issues” when you plan far enough ahead to get a more accessible venue for the spectating public instead of attempting to bribe bigger profile teams into playing along with your eleventh hour team announcements and almost no warning.
Or am I just being too reasonable for the typical Euro esports event company?
Unfortunately, there’s a bit more to this situation that might not be readily apparent to the typical esports fan—Heaven Media, the company responsible for organizing the tournament in the Czech Republic, is the parent company for the only esports news outlet that has been given exclusive rights to cover the event at the venue: Cadred. The HLTV.org piece stated this on the matter:
None of the major websites that cover CS:GO that we have contacted will send a single journalist to Prague, the only exception being Cadred.org, which is part of the Heaven Media Group and has been announcing on its website for the past few days that it will be doing exclusive coverage of the tournament.
Cadred’s Richard Lewis penned a response 2 just a couple of hours later which featured details missing from the HLTV.org article. Between the esports-politically-neutral speak which anyone could’ve seen coming, there’s a paragraph that I can’t understand.
For anyone thinking that there aren’t space constraints the Cadred team themselves will not be out there in force. We shall be sending a solitary journalist. HLTV.org are not the only site who have been disappointed in this way so we are surprised to see them try and turn it into anything other than just one of those things that happen.
This venue must singlehandedly be the single smallest major esports tournament that isn’t Home Story Cup that has such strict space constraints. How many people are going to be fit into the room where the tournament booths will be? Will there even be a need for soundproofing? If there is soundproofing, will they even bother with getting a decent sound system and having a caster call the matches for the spectators?
Between the two opinions, I think I have to agree that HLTV being denied press access to the venue is a horrible oversight. In light of Cadred only being able to send one of their staff members to the event, it’s hard to lay the blame directly on them—it’s a different story for Heaven Media’s lack of outside media presence.
@bcarr the funny thing is by limiting media access they are limiting event exposure, and thus revenue. So overall its a really dumb move
— Ted Ottey (@tedottey) November 28, 2012
Even if it was a secondary effect that came with the denial of HLTV.org’s request for press access, it remains to be seen how Heaven Media made its decision to only allow one journalist into the venue. While no official statement is required by Heaven Media, I’d like to think that they’d probably release something on the matter soon, or at least link to what Richard Lewis had already written on the matter.
Don’t get me wrong, tournament organizers certainly have the rights to set the ground rules for access to their events and what level of access the press are allowed to have at their venues, but organizations like MLG and IPL typically make the effort to reach out and share information about their event to encourage press to make it a part of their professional or semi-professional schedules (whichever the case may be).
Ultimately, the information given by both parties points to the lack of good faith exhibited by Heaven Media is the red flag that should be standing out to everyone. Cadred and HLTV will always compete with each other and always throw the other under the bus as many times as is politically advantageous for them to do so—that will never change.
Then again, this could all just be the proper European way to do things which prompts me being flamed into oblivion for being an American who dares to comment on the proud European scene.