That being said, some of what I see nowadays troubles me. There is a fervor around some of these opportunities that I think blinds some people to the value per dollar that they are getting. We are all so eager to see the scene grow, for it to gain acceptance, and for the parallels of sports and esports to strengthen, that I think some people may spend before really examining the product. This, as the cliche goes, is hurting ESPORTS.
Let me pick on GSL for a minute, because it is really the issue that tipped me over into writing this blog. In the recent thread about the 2012 GSL Ticket system I was shocked by the outlay they are asking foreign fans for to watch their material. $240 a year to watch and advertised stream, and almost double that to watch it with no ads. If you don't want the extra tournaments, you cannot get the team league, and it would still cost you 140 dollars.
For some people money is not an issue, and in fact I could afford this quite comfortably. But my real issue is about value per dollar. The product you are getting for that price is simply not in line with the rest of the industry. For example, I pay $170 a year for the NHL center ice package. For this price I can watch every game, from every team, both live and archived, in full HD. Not only that, but immediately after the game they release condensed games as well as highlights for every game. I can watch it anywhere, anytime, on any platform from my computer to my playstation to my ipad. This includes the playoffs. The season runs for 8 months.
I would argue that the production value is far higher, the customer service far better, and the content far greater than anything the GSL has to offer. Am I comparing the NHL to the GSL? No. But I am comparing the value for dollar I receive from my spending.
I realize there is emotion in spending. I also think that this emotion coupled with the instant gratification of online spending is a very powerful combination. Favorite website selling shirts? Click. New GSL ticket? Click. Donate money to help this person based on a forum thread? Click.
I would appeal to you to think logically about the product you are buying. The vote with your wallet is a vote of confidence in that product. Be picky, be particular, and they products will change to meet your expectations. Continuing to subsidize sub-standard products because they are esports related ensures that companies will not evolve as quickly, the dead weight will not be cut away, and the scene will stagnate. Don't forget that esports is still a business, and businesses should not be subsidized by your passion.