INTERVIEW WITH ADAM FROM MAJOR LEAGUE GAMING Q: Major League Gaming has been established for a long time, done a lot of games. When did you start talking about CounterStrike: Global Offensive becoming part of the circuit? A: So, we started with a very console heavy focus, that was our shtick back in the day. We eventually added StarCraft 2 to the circuit, then World of Warcraft, and we then started to pursue a “Well, let’s just run the best esports games” plan. We just wanted to sanction competition and operate the best games out there. You couldn’t deny the growth pattern that CS:GO was having. Beyond the numbers, there were a lot of great aspects that we enjoyed about the game. There a ton of touchpoints for participation. There’s a lot of competition. There’s sport — there are fans who will travel to go and see it played. There’s the digital collecting around it, so there’s an economy. There’s a gambling scene. There are just a ton of parallels to traditional sports that really interested us in CS. So when we had the chance to run it at Winter X Games Aspen and then start our CEVO partnership, we just wanted to jump on the chance and jump into the game. Q: Majors have always been the pinnacle of competition. With MLG always seeking to push the highest level of play, when did you start talking about running a Major? A: So, we ran Games and we ran a few CEVO events, but we didn’t really have the audacity to think that we were deserving to run CS just yet. So, we wanted to learn how to run the game first. We wanted to learn how to run it in our studio, find places where we could innovate, places that we could operationally execute more efficiently than some of the other events out there. We took a lot of stuff from our peers in the space, with so many great companies running great events out there. Once we reached that point, we reached out to Valve and said “Hey, when there’s a opportunity, we’d love to run the first Major in North America.” Thankfully, there’s always been a great relationship between the Valve team and MLG, so they wanted to hear what we had to say. We pitched them Columbus, they loved it, and that’s really all there is to say. Q: MLG is the defining North American organization. With CounterStrike historical having a European bias, how important was it for you to run the first NA major, for the fans and players from the region? A: It was very important for us to run the first Major in North America because we are the number one operator in the region. It made sense that if there was going to be a “first” for any major esport, that we would love to be the runs to run it and bring it here. CounterStrike has a very large European split in terms of player base, viewership, etc. And so that overall pie is growing bigger and bigger every year, so as that pie grows, we want to do what we can to make the American slice bigger as well. So when we have a million people watching online, that’s going to help this grow. We’ve always prided ourselves as being the leaders here in North America, so it just made sense for us to operate CS here.