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Berlin Major: Why StarLadder, but not the CIS?

Posted Feb 19, 2019

The next CS:GO event overseen by Valve would be the Berlin major. It will be conducted by the famous Ukrainian tournament operator, StarLadder. Despite the long and fruitful cooperation this TO had with the Valve and its events, it is the first time when the Ukrainians were entrusted with holding the World Cup for this game. In this article, we will explain why SLTV has long earned such amount of trust, and yet why a non-CIS city became the tournament venue.

In the past, the game's developers have already tried entrusting their events to the organizers they haven't cooperated with before. One example would be the little-known FACEIT becoming the main driving force of the London Major. It seems that now is the turn of SLTV guys, who were recently holding The Chongqing Major.

It may be a little-known fact, but it was this particular TO that took the second spot in the 2018 tournament organizer ranking, only being overtaken by the Electronic Sports League. We have recently reviewed the ESL results for the past year, and you can read the corresponding article on this page.

During 2018, StarLadder held a total of 5 tournaments in this discipline with a prize pool starting from 100 thousand dollars. One of these has reached a pool of 300 thousand dollars, and took place in the Palace "Ukraina", the same place that previously hosted the Kiev Major for Dota 2.

As a result, the finals of the StarSeries' fourth season became most popular Ukrainian event for this Counter-Strike season, with viewers spending nearly 12 million viewhours on it. The match which gathered the most interest was able to reach the peak figure slightly above 350 thousand viewers. The closest to reaching this would be the SL i-League StarSeries Season 5 with its peak of 250 thousand viewers.

Thanks to the work of the SLTV team, the fans of Valve's shooter had a chance to view quality events all year long. Since the company itself is located in the center of Europe, it finds holding events in its native country more convenient. But even when it came to holding the events abroad, the company has demonstrated its high capability time and again.

During 2019, the influence of this TO has grown so much that it received the right to host the main PUBG league – which, by the way, will occupy the Berlin arena that was prepared in advance. It is likely that Berlin is already saturated with StarLadder personnel and equipment, which could be one of the reasons for choosing this city as the venue for the second major of 2019.

Additionally, the studios dedicated to analytics and narration were traditionally located in the same arena where the games were held, making the broadcasts more interesting and entertaining. The upcoming tournament may just become the first developer-backed competition that will be supplied with the Russian-speaking broadcasters – in addition to their English-speaking counterparts. This is as opposed to the earlier practice of assigning all but the English-speaking broadcasters to the remote studios.

When comparing all the Russian-language CS:GO broadcasts, it becomes apparent that the studio assembled by StarLadder's own team is rightfully called the best one, which may serve as a viable explanation. The company's closest rival's basically stand no chance, popularity and talent-wise – which makes Petryk and co's trip to Berlin perfectly justified.

Still, why the CIS-based TO was trusted by Valve with organizing the event, and yet the World Cup itself will be held in Europe? The most obvious answer would be that the post-Soviet audience isn't known for having good solvency. This means that an event conducted in the EU will be several times more profitable compared to the same event conducted in Ukraine (or a similar country).

Based on this, the place to host the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive main event of the year must be located in the EU, with Berlin becoming an ideal option due to already having SLTV personnel and facilities. Both StarLadder and Valve are satisfied by this turn of events, leaving the Russian-speaking community to regret the missed opportunity of having a CIS-based World Cup.

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