Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Rivalry.
Gorgc Leaves OG Over Casting Issues (Partially)
Recently, popular streamer Gorgc released a Twitlonger in which he stated “unfortunately what we set out doing in the start of me signing with OG to cast their games, has changed a lot when they started being involved in organising tournaments.”
Again and again, the community has discussed third party casters vs tournament organizers, which just about anyone involved on the tournament side pointing out how the lack of exclusive broadcast rights impact budgets for tournaments, and many in the community trending towards the free market/competition arguments. Previously, OG had clearly hired Gorgc (in part) to cast their games and provide unqiue fan interactions – something that directly competes with tournament streams . Now that OG has a vested stake in a major tournament (The Omega League) – Gorgc was no longer casting it. (It seems Bulldog hasn’t been covering the Alliance games either). Based on the twitlonger, it looks like that casting decision was one of the main reasons for Gorgc and OG parting ways. (Obviously if there were events, Gorgc would likely have been there in person creating content, so that also factors into it).
Anyways, this decision seems like a very very clear message: It’s okay to be a competing third party streamer, as long as you aren’t involved in the tournament. Now that OG (and Alliance) have a stake? Looks like those third party streams aren’t such a good idea anymore. I decided it would be a good idea to go through the history of broadcast rights and third party streamers in Dota 2, so everyone has a decent overview of the storylines.
If you would prefer a video form, the video is below outlines everything we will hit in this article, with timestamps, sources, and links in the video description if you go over to YouTube.
Back to the Beginning: Starladder Threatens Bulldog
Broadcast rights became a point of contention during the inaugeral event of the brand new DPC system in 2017 at the StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 3 when Starladder tried to threaten Bulldog for streaming their tournament. As a beloved caster, TI winner, and provider unique perspective on ongoing tournaments – the community wasn’t very happy with this threat.
Valve Responds Quickly to Establish Broadcast Rights in Dota
We tend to try to tread pretty lightly around areas where the community outside of Valve is doing a lot of the work, primarily because we don’t want to stifle invention that leads to someone doing something really cool.
Valve responded almost immediately to the controversy to establish and protect broadcast rights in Dota. Broadcast rights for third party streamers, not the tournaments. Their blog post outlined their approach towards community content, noting that “We tend to try to tread pretty lightly around areas where the community outside of Valve is doing a lot of the work, primarily because we don’t want to stifle invention that leads to someone doing something really cool.”
Considering their approach around the workshop, lore, highlights, tournaments, short films and every other form of content – this makes sense. Valve benefits greatly from community innovation, design, and not having to hire people on staff to handle content when their focus is on development. This led them to ultimately saying that non-commercial broadcasts from DotaTV that don’t use any caster audio or camera movement and are not sponsored or monetized are allowed.
To that end, in addition to the official, fully-produced streams from the tournament organizer itself, we believe that anyone should be able to broadcast a match from DotaTV for their audience. However, we don’t think they should do so in a commercial manner or in a way that directly competes with the tournament organizer’s stream. This means no advertising/branding overlays, and no sponsorships. It also means not using any of the official broadcast’s content such as caster audio, camerawork, overlays, interstitial content, and so on. Finally, this is not permission for studios to broadcast each other’s events. In general, everyone should play nice together, and we think the boundaries should be pretty clear.
Seems clear to you? Well, turns out, it wasn’t.
The ESL x Facebook Deal Adds Fuel to the Fire
The next chapter in the great broadcast rights debate came in the form of an ‘exclusive’ broadcast rights deal signed between ESL and Facebook. Facebook was working towards their ability to live stream esports events, and it seemed that ESL was one of their first major test launches. Dota 2 viewers were met with glitched screens, streams that were challenging to even find, and their real names linked to their chat experience. (Plus a lot less emotes, a main stay of the Twitch experience to the vocal fans).
Streamers ‘Save the Day’ with Twitch Broadcasts
Twitch was flooded with streamers, casters, and players looking to provide a better alternative ESL stream – anything was better than Facebook, even someone in their bedroom with a questionable mic. Or well… they tried. ESL has different ideas as community streamers were hit with DMCAs and temporary Twitch bans.
ESL held their ground, insisting that they were following Valve’s original guidelines across multiple posts.
Valve uh… decided they thought differently. In an updated blog post, they stated that “No one besides Valve is allowed to send DMCA notices” and reiterated that community figures and up and coming casters should be allowed to cast matches. Their language does specify that these third party casts should happen occasionally and again states that commercial organizations are not allowed to compete with the primary stream.
WePlay Didn’t Get the Memo and DMCA’ed ColdFox for His Broadcast
WePlay, a TO many view as ‘new’ to the Dota 2 scene seemed to have missed Valve’s memo, and issued a DMCA against a popular caster, ColdFox. (In addition to CIS caster Casper). The reddit debate raged aggressively on both sides – pointing out that DMCAs were not allowed by anyone but Valve, but also pointing out that by ColdFox’s own admission, he made his money off of covering games as a third party caster. Kyle condemned streamers for theft of tournament content while Gorgc insisted that he wasn’t taking away any viewers from the broadcasts.
An important note, WePlay has been running tournaments in Dota 2 since 2013.
AdmiralBulldog of course had his own opinion about Kyle’s statements and the issue of broadcast rights – but he deleted them not too long after tweeting.
Community opinion went back and forth, with many insisting that if a streamer in their room can provide a better product than the TO themselves, the TO deserves to lose viewers. This opinion is widely shared, but seems a little out of place when discussing the talent roster, stage, production, and content of a WePlay stream (which is what the screenshots from reddit show below are from). This line of thought also fails to take into account the ability of OG to provide players for exclusive content to a Gorgc stream – which seems a lot like a commercial organization directly competing with the main stream?
Why are Broadcast Rights Relevant with Gorgc Leaving OG?
The reason that broadcast rights are fascinating to bring up again? The top teams have banded together to create the Omega League, a league where the teams themselves have a share/stake in the tournament’s success, in addition to competing for the prize pool. Interesting that Bulldog and Gorgc, who have been defended as an alternative to the main cast, not taking away views, and not competing with the main stream, have ‘chosen’ not to cast the Omega League games.
Gorgc states in his twitlonger that he had originally signed with OG in order to cast their games, but now that he can’t because of their tournament involvement, the partnership no longer makes sense.
OG signed Gorgc in order to provide exclusive fan content with their players, content that is not on the broadcast for the tournament that is offering large sums of prize money to these teams. OG is a commercial organization that is sponsoring the coverage of their games. Suddenly, when OG is the commercial organization they would be competing against, they choose to no longer offer that exclusive fan content through Gorgc.
This is the reason that this discussion is incredibly compelling right now. We don’t know if OG themselves have made this ruling or if this was a stipulation of WePlay before they agreed to work with the teams. No matter what the reason, this is a clear signal that broadcast exclusivity is likely playing an important role in tournament monetization and sponsorship value. Which begs the question – why does Valve continue to limit the ways in which tournaments can monetize?
Tournaments NEED Better Revenue Options
This all boils down to the fact that Dota 2 either needs to rework their broadcast rights system, or tournaments need significantly better discoverability and monetization options. Pause screens could have simple GIF ads instead of mini games, in game space could have advertising baked in, loading screens could be video ads – meaning that anyone who watches DotaTV has sponsorship advertising up.
Third party casting could be limited to non-partnered streamers, or stricter rulings on competing organizations (like OG and Bulldog) having streamers covering the games. TOs could be promised platform exclusivity, with third party casts allowed on other platforms .
Proper ticketing, stream embeds, working with Twitch to highlight official coverage, the return of compendiums – all of these would help with the promotion, awareness, and viability of TOs.
(The above are options, not a list of every single thing that I think needs to be done – just food for thought)
People complain about a dying tier 2 scene and in the same breath defend third party streams to the death and insist TOs become more entertaining and innovative. It is time to fix this system and give TOs the incentive and ability to expand their tournament offerings while also creating products that viewers enjoy and actually know about. In no way am I saying that TOs aren’t partially to blame here – there has been a stagnation in the tournament landscape for a while, but they face immense risk even in running an event.
I am sure the solutions aren’t simple, but we haven’t had any update or changes for about 2.5 years. It seems like it might be time.
G2 Esport Rekkles awarded with the 2021 LEC Spring MVP
After a great split for the Swedish superstar, Rekkles added a trophy to his mantel. He wins the MVP award despite missing out on the LEC Spring Finals after G2 took a rough 3-1 loss to Rogue in the lower bracket final. The loss knocked out G2 and means that the LEC final will be without G2 for the first time since 2018.
The MVP award will likely be a consolation prize for the veteran bot laner, as there is no doubt that Rekkles and the rest of G2 Esports saw themselves in the final to defend the LEC title. For Rekkles, the loss will likely sting even more as he joined G2 in the hopes of winning another domestic title, but despite his best efforts in the season, that dream will have to wait for at least one more split.
Even though the LEC trophy will fall into new hands this split, Rekkles has done everything in his power to carry G2 Esports all the way. While this split was Rekkles’ first with G2, he has been a constant force in the bot lane. Almost every game G2 Esports has played this split has been with Rekkles leading in kills and damage. His impact was enough to score 101 kills throughout the regular split, only beaten by Rogue bot laner Steven “Hans Sama” Liv at 103.
Rekkles also fielded the best KDA in the entire league during the regular split at a whopping 12.6. The KDA alone shows that Rekkles is as reliable as ever and might even reach a higher peak during the year. For now, Rekkles will have a break before the 2021 LEC Summer Split Starts as he won’t represent Europe at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
What happened to Rekkles?
After five years with Fnatic, Rekkles made the move to G2 Esports shortly after the 2020 World Championship. Rekkles joining G2 was one of the biggest roster moves in the history of League of Legends and brought a lot of expectations with it. So far, Rekkles has done well at G2 Esports but will have to chase his first trophy with the team for a bit longer.
How old is Rekkles?
Rekkles is one of the most experienced players in Europe with an age of 24 years old. Rekkles has played professionally since he was very young, starting with Fnatic all the way back in 2012. Back then, Rekkles was one of the top talents in the world and has achieved more than most players will ever get close to.
Dota 2: Team Nigma Completes Dota 2 Roster With iLTW
Igor “iLTW” Filatov joins team Nigma for the Dota Pro Circuit Europe Upper-Division league.
Team Nigma has added a Russian carry player Igor “iLTW” Filatov to complete its roster after moving mid laner Aliwi “w33” Omar to an inactive position. The team announced via Twitter that iLTW will be the fifth player on the team’s roster. ILTW joins Nigma in full capacity and will play with the team for a Major ticket in the second season of Dota Pro Circuit Europe Upper-Division League.
New patch, new🌟
We’re excited to announce @iLTW1 as our 5th player!
— Team Nigma (@TeamNigma) April 10, 2021
Recently. Nigma had a disappointing run at the Singapore Major. They faced elimination during the Wild Card phase of the tournament, after which the team decided to drop off w33. The team quotes “As of today, w33 will be moved from the active roster and become our sixth player for the time being. Omar has contributed a lot to the team and the organization. We are grateful that he is a part of the Team Nigma Family,”
iLTW is a well-established carry player and a great addition to the roster. Back in 2019, he started the year at OG, but his trial period lasted only about three months. Now he is all set for his second big European affair. Where he can play in the mid lane with ease. Team Nigma so far has 200 points to their name, courtesy of their third-place finish in the first season of EU Upper-Division. However, with this coming season being the last chance for everyone to grab enough points for a direct invite at The international 10, the team will have to work on its game with some amazing results.
Team Nigma’s finalized roster:
- Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi
- Igor “iLTW” Filatov
- Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov Ivanov
- Maroun “GH” Merhej
- Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi
LoL: Rekkles Named 2021 LEC Spring Split MVP
After his debut season in a G2 Esports jersey, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson has been named the LEC Spring Split MVP.
Much like Rogue’s Coaching Team of the Split, the MVP award was given to Rekkles for his performance in the regular season. Rekkles joined G2 Esports from rivals Fnatic. Despite not winning a LEC title with his new team, he was regularly one of the standout players, hence this award.
Rekkles was joined by Rogue players Inspired and Odoamne, in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The pair were key to Rogue’s victory over G2 Esports in the Lower Bracket and will need to be so again against MAD Lions. During the Spring Split, Rekkles managed to pick up five Player of the Game awards, joint first with Armut and Hans Sama.
This latest MVP adds to Rekkles’ history of solo success inside the EULCS and LEC. Including this title, he’s picked up four MVP awards (Summer 2014, Summer 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2021). He’s also been included in the EU All-Pro team four times (Summer 2015, Summer 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020), alongside one 2nd place finish and four 3rd place finishes. All this goes to show the storied success Rekkles has had in Europe.
Sadly for Rekkles, this latest MVP title won’t result in another European title. However, G2 Esports, and Rekkles will likely have a fire in their bellies come Summer Split.
Rekkles proves he’s still got it
While many thought Rekkles’ move to G2 Esports was an odd one, and others even claimed it was bad. Rekkles has proven himself yet again on the European stage. While his side failed to win a LEC title, that’s not for a lack of trying on Rekkles’ part. Ultimately, it looked more like a lack of leadership was G2 Esports’ problem, which just happened to come from the player in the position Rekkles has moved into.
If G2 Esports can improve on that area in Summer Split, they, and Rekkles will be once again a challenge for anyone.
LoL: LEC 2021 Spring Lower Bracket Finals Recap- G2 Esports vs Rogue
G2 Esports and Rogue take to the Rift to secure a spot in the 2021 LEC Spring Split Finals.
Two of the biggest European League of Legends teams in the LEC went head-to-head today. G2 Esports and Rogue had the opportunity to redeem their previous losses and make their way to the LEC Spring Split Finals. Both teams had a phenomenal Spring Split, with many fans predicting them meeting in the Finals. However, the MAD Lions defeated both of these teams in the Playoffs and made the Finals for the first time in their history. They’ll be waiting until tomorrow, looking to take the crown from the winner of this series.
Rogue sought to do the same; to secure a place in the Finals for their first time. Meanwhile, G2 Esports was looking to gain momentum and re-establish the dominance of European superteams. With Wunder back on the Solo queue grind, things looked very intense moving into this match.
The drafting phase for Game One went very well for G2 Esports. They managed to secure strong picks like Senna, Seraphine, and Olaf, which secured them both good early and late game power. Wunder quit tank duty and switched to Urgot, which he used to bully Odoamne’s Karma in lane to gain an early advantage. However, the early game was very calm. During it, Inspired gained a monumental lead on Jankos in the jungle. He completely outpaced him, killing the first two dragons and Rift Heralds and picking up First Blood on Wunder in the top lane.
Moving into the mid-game, Rogue actively pressured G2 Esports with their lead and gave them no opportunities to come back into the match. G2 traded the third dragon for a mid-tower while RGE pushed their lead further. After that, a teamfight broke out in the mid lane where G2 took the charge of the fight. At first, it actually looked good for them. But Larssen’s Syndra had a fantastic position to land a stun on four members of G2 Esports, which changed the whole outcome of the fight. After losing that fight, Rogue had a massive lead and it was almost over for G2. They needed a miracle to come back into the match.
A brilliant Baron dance by G2
At 25 minutes, G2 found a crucial pick onto Trymbi. Afterward, G2 Esports went straight for the Baron and forced Rogue to challenge them in the pit. Not having enough vision around the area, Rogue stepped into a trap and G2 turned instantly. They took down every single Rogue carry and secured themselves a Baron buff.
It was a major turning point for the game. Soon after, G2 also grabbed an Ocean Dragon too. This stopped Rogue’s Soul and meant G2 had so much sustain paired with the Serpahine and Senna combo. After that point, G2 Esports controlled the tempo for the rest game and comfortably scaled into the late game, where their actual strength resided. Eventually, they gained more Ocean Dragons, but Rogue attempted to rush Baron. While Rekkles secured the third dragon himself, G2 Esports called the enemy’s bluff and forced another team fight. They slaughtered Rogue in the river and used the opportunity to end the game and claim the first Nexus of the series.
- Time: 35:52
- Kills: 13-9
- Turrets: 7-3
- Gold: 64.8k-57.7k
- Dragons: 3-3
- Barons: 1-0
The Nocturne pick came as a surprise to many fans in the drafting phase. To add to the surprise, Hans Sama picked up the Jinx, which was the first-ever appearance of that champion in his hands. The match started similarly to Game One, as Wunder got caught by Inspired and Odoamne, leading to First Blood. However, unlike last time, G2 Esports made proactive plays into the bottom lane and caught the likes of Hans Sama with the help of Mikyx’s beautiful hooks. Having two global ultimates on the side of G2 meant that they could rinse and repeat the bot lane gank formula and get free kills on the enemy bot lane.
After a few skirmishes of trading champions and objectives, a team fight broke out in the bottom lane. That team fight started in favor of Rogue as they managed to bring down the key carries of G2 Esports’ health bars. However, a very good hook from Blitzcrank made a small opening for G2 Esports, but Inspired stopped the situation from escalating on his Nidalee, and he won the team fight for the team. Then, an array of small team fights happened, and Rogue was continuously taking the game away from G2. They secured three elemental dragons and the Soul dragon was in contention for both the squads.
Rogue played the same Baron dance mini-game with G2 this time. However, an excellent shot from Rekkles’ Jhin Ultimate made it very easy for him to snatch the Soul dragon from Rogue’s hands. In response, Rogue angrily chased down the G2 champions and took down almost everyone in the enemy squad. Despite the steal, Rogue won the fight and collectively pushed through the bottom lane to collect their first win, equalizing the series.
- Time: 32:17
- Kills: 13-9
- Turrets: 8-1
- Gold: 60k-51k
- Dragons: 3-2
- Barons: 1-0
The Nocturne has apparently become the talk of the town, as Rogue picked it up for their top lane in Game Three and denied it from G2. The drafting was very strong for both the teams, and as expected, it turned out to be a bloodbath in the early game. Al level one, Rekkles was caught out in his jungle, where he had to insta-Flash the engage from Trymbi’s Rell. Mikyx also expended his Flash to put some damage on the enemy AD Carry. However, knowing G2’s bottom duo had no Flashes, Inspired started the top blue-side jungle and quickly made his way to the bottom lane to easily dive onto the support for First Blood.
After a matter of seconds, Caps was harassing Larssen with his heavy poke damage and both of them were dangerously low in the lane. A quick visit from Inspired into the lane made sure that Caps had no way of escaping with his life. In this fight though, Jankos made sure the Rogue mid laner got shut down as well. Another tower dive under the bottom tower gave G2 Esports another kill to neutralize the lead quickly. There was a bit of a hiatus for the spectators, as both of the teams looked to secure dragons and Rift Heralds to push their leads. But another dive was set up by Rogue on the enemy bot lane, where they secured two additional kills. Furthermore, Rogue looked to further advance their lead in the match by forcing a fight and trading their top laner in return for two from G2 Esports.
Things were looking very grim for G2 Esports and they wanted to take fights near objectives, but Rogue was way ahead of them. They punished their desperate attempts to fight and brute-forced major objectives. Of course, they convincingly won team fights to take down G2 Esports in Game Three, taking the series to the match point.
- Time: 29:09
- Kills: 5-23
- Turrets: 8-1
- Gold: 46k-58k
- Dragons: 1-3
- Barons: 0-1
Coming into Game Four, it was do-or-die for G2 Esports. To start, Rogue was playing aggressively right off the bat, beating them in the early game. Because of this, Jankos ganked the mid lane and secured First Blood for Caps. However, G2 Esports pushed their luck a bit too far in the river, so Rogue collapsed on them. They had to sacrifice three members of the team, whereas Rogue left the fight unharmed. G2 got their revenge when they went for a dive on Hans Sama in the bottom lane, but it went utterly wrong as a five-person stacked Rogue roster collapsed on the play. G2 had no escape. As a result, Rogue took down four more kills at the cost of only one champion of their own.
Now, all of the pressure was on G2 Esports to come back into the match. They tried to gank the enemy AD Carry in the top lane, but all was in vain, as Rogue promptly responded to the gank and made a disadvantageous situation for G2 Esports. After Rogue secured even more kills to their name, G2 Esports found it very difficult to come back into the match. Eventually, Rogue started up the Baron, challenging G2 Esports to contest them. G2 Caps got his opportunity and jumped into the pit with his Sylas, but there wasn’t anyone able to support to him. As a result, Rogue got another kill and walked away with the Baron buff.
It was all over for G2 Esports at this point but they tried desperately to hold the fort down. With an amazing Orianna Shockwave from Larssen, Rogue secured a pick onto Rekkles, and a kill on him meant that Rogue won the final fight. Taking down the final Nexus in front of them, Rogue secured their first-ever Grand Final appearance. Riding high from this victory, they’ll take on the MAD Lions tomorrow for the 2021 LEC Spring Split title and Europe’s spot at MSI.
- Time: 32:34
- Kills: 8-18
- Turrets: 0-10
- Gold: 50k-63k
- Dragons: 1-3
- Barons: 0-1
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