onGamers was able to get in touch with John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain and briefly discuss the SHOUTcraft America Winter tournament that he and his wife announced yesterday. Bain offered details on the advantages of working with a sponsor on a tournament he had previously ran independently as well as where SHOUTcraft fits in the competitive StarCraft II ecosystem.
"We're really excited to be welcoming a new sponsor into the Starcraft 2 scene. I suppose every tournament organiser or team-owners lusts after the giants, they want to be sponsored by Ford, Coca Cola, Microsoft and the like but what we should really be looking at are these online-orientated companies that are looking to innovate and do so in a space that Starcraft fans are familiar with. Many of these organisations don't realise the huge Return on Investment they can receive from getting involved in an eSports team or sponsoring a tournament like this," Bain told onGamers while explaining their event's new sponsor Ting.com.
"When we completed our first SHOUTcraft America, we deemed the model unsustainable. We made back about 30% of what we put in and just sponsoring a tournament on your own with no product to sell makes no commercial sense in todays ad market. Now we return with a company that has something to offer to a demographic that is receptive to it and a leaner, meaner format that is not only exciting and easy to watch but also puts players on the big stage who don't usually get the chance to perform in front of so many people. Ting is already excited about the response to their sponsorship, weeks before the tournament has even begun. That should be a wake-up call to these kind of companies. eSports is cost effective marketing, eSports has the demographic you're looking to hit and eSports can offer you amazing Return on Investment if you approach it in the right way."
"... we believe regional competition is required to create a strong foundation for local players and fans. We still believe that."John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain
Bain continued on the value he saw in hosting a tournament exclusive to those living in North America by adding, "When we first started SHOUTcraft America as a region locked event it was in response to WCS failure to stimulate the American Starcraft 2 scene, we did so because we believe regional competition is required to create a strong foundation for local players and fans. We still believe that. Players in these regions have a glass ceiling created by lack of proper infrastructure and training environment, a weak ladder and very few opportunities for exposure. Just reaching the Round of 16 in WCS America is an achievement for most American players because the vast majority don't make it there."
Currently considering moving the cutoff for SCA:W qualification due to some prominent NA players attending Dreamhack/WCG/IEM— TotalBiscuit (@Totalbiscuit) November 14, 2013
"The American WCS is simply another GSL at this point and while it's ok for it to remain that way, that means other tournaments have to step up and make sure the American scene remains healthy. Without that, we won't see the next foreigner breakthrough, we won't see healthy regional competition and it will ultimately hurt American viewership because they won't have someone to root for. It should speak volumes that the guy most American fans root for as the 'American hopeful' is a Korean on a student visa. We believe in US, Canadian, Mexican and South American Starcraft 2 and we will do what we can to help stimulate its growth and provide opportunities for its players," Bain concluded.
"It should speak volumes that the guy most American fans root for as the 'American hopeful' is a Korean on a student visa. "John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain
Bain had told onGamers prior to this exchange that Choi 'Polt' Seong Hun, who was alluded to in the quote above, could not participate in the SHOUTcraft America Winter tournament due to the eligibility rules requiring participants to be citizens of any of the countries within the continental Americas, hold permanent residency status, or have work visas.
The SHOUTcraft America Winter tournament takes place on December 7th and December 8th on Bain's Twitch.tv channel. Qualification opportunities close on 12:00AM EST on December 1st, 2013.
Photo Credit: mlg.tv