In three years of going to esports events I finally found an event that could rival a Combo Breaker Grand Finals..and I didn't even get to see the Grand Finals.
Eleague hosted a Counter Strike Major event that put the best teams in the world against another in a series of matches and qualifiers that began months ago. Last weekend was finals weekend and was truly a sight to behold.
The venue was perfect for the scale. Tucked away near the Boston University, the Agganis Arena didn't have the gravitas of the Garden but was perfect for the event and it was obvious that the staff made sure the stage layout was both functional and appropriate for spectators.
In between matches, there were your standard sports "in between" content. Replays, mini games and there was even a Jackbox.tv game setup for the early birds.
Typically I am apprehensive about comparing esports events to traditional sports events but Eleague truly nailed the production level and atmosphere that, I feel, rivals traditional sports.
All of the ingredients are there. World class competition, fans from around the globe and a killer production team.
There were chants for everything and everything. From the standard "FNATIC", the quintessential "USA", and even custom to the event "We can't hear you!". The atmosphere was electric, although I would be remiss not to point out the crowds fatigue during the SK v. FNATIC match that lasted nearly four hours, and there was a lack of artificial hype from the production and I'm glad for it. The crowd and player cams were more than enough to keep the crowd invested and excited for the events on screen. Oftentimes the crowd was so loud that the casters couldn't be heard!
The giant screens showing off the action in a resolution CS:GO rarely sees captured the action perfectly. Between the crowd and jumbo-trons, the fan experience was fantastic.
Only one thing stuck out to me as a flaw in the programming. The "fan experience" area was incredibly underwhelming. It served mostly vendor space with a 1v1 setup and while I definitely am not against additional retail space...calling it the "fan experience" area is a little bit of a let down
The experience of attending Eleague was really something I will carry with myself for the rest of my life. I look forward to the next Major!