Nick J. January 24, 2020
More information regarding Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's B Site was revealed today by Cloud9's President Dan Fiden ahead of its March debut.
In a two-hour interview today with esports insider Richard Lewis, Cloud9 President Dan Fiden and B Site Creative Director Duncan "Thorin" Shields revealed new information regarding the B Site tournament circuit.
Most notably, B Site will fine participating teams $100,000 per month they place outside of the world's top 20 teams. B Site has not decided which scale the league will use to determine a team's ranking, but a partnership between the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association and HLTV was mentioned as a neutral option.
Fiden noted B Site is the spiritual successor to Professional eSports Association, the failed exclusive league that folded in 2017 as Counter-Strike players revolted over its exclusivity clause. Fiden said that Cloud9 had learned from its involvement in the PEA, translating those lessons to B Site.
"I think the good thing about [the PEA] was that it gave us some pretty good examples of how not to proceed with [B Site]... We have to come to CS on its terms," Fiden said.
Players had originally been on board with the PEA, but refused to participate once the league revealed they would be barred from participating in ESL Pro League. According to Thorin, the PEA was a good idea that was poorly executed.
"The premise of the PEA was right," Thorin said.
B Site to have open qualifiers for new teams
B Site will feature open qualifiers for each season, allowing a pathway into the league for teams that are unable to pay its' $2 million buy-in. Thorin clarified by saying that while teams coming through the open qualifiers can participate in B Site, only those who pay the buy-in will be eligible for the league's reportedly lucrative revenue sharing model.
The interview also revealed that B Site is currently negotiating a deal with the CSPPA similar to the one between the Players' Association and rival tournament organizer ESL. When Lewis questioned Fiden as to why the CSPPA would flaunt a deal with ESL and not B Site, Fiden replied frankly.
"Because we don't have a deal done yet. Again, I feel very confident we'll have a deal with the CSPPA. But we're a US company and the majority of the entities fielding teams in our league are US companies. US companies are governed by US Antitrust and Labor Law which is substantially different than European Antitrust and Labor Law... We began real conversations with the CSPPA before [ESL One] Katowice last year." Fiden said.
The interview also shed light on the reasons why ESL's revenue-sharing model is flawed in the eyes of the two B Site representatives.
The problem, Fiden explained, is the path that tournament revenue takes at ESL starts with the tournament organizer and ends with the players. By the time ESL recoups the costs of a tournament and pays its sister advertising company, players only receive a percentage of the revenue allotted to their individual team. According to Fiden, this results in less money overall for the player compared to B Site's model.
Fiden also explained that players on B Site teams will make more money from the league's revenue model, despite the numbers being on ESL's side at first glance. According to both Fiden and Thorin, B Site revenues for teams and players should be greater than or equal to ESL's.
Valve has approved B Site over several meetings since Katowice 2019
Fiden also revealed that B Site has had several meetings with Valve, including an in-person discussion at the developer's headquarters in Bellvue, Washington. Lewis brought up that ESL has been reprimanded by the developer several times in Dota 2 for claiming streaming rights to Valve IPs, causing the developer to step in.
Fiden and Thorin took the opportunity to share that they've worked with Valve to ensure that B Site is above board. Fiden told Lewis that B Site has run several plans by the developer for approval.
Which plans Valve has approved and whether they have shot down any of B Site's proposed ideas is unknown.
"We want to be as transparent about what it is and what we're doing as possible... The things that are happening right now are important, and I think that people need to take the time..." Fiden said.
B Site is shaping up to be a serious contender in the ongoing feud between the three main tournament organizers. The only thing that it currently lacks is a strong core of teams to draw viewership. Although the league currently boasts fan favorites C9 and MIBR, the vast majority of the top ten CSGO teams are slated to participate in ESL Pro League and BLAST Premier, two of B Site's main competitors.
Reports currently place five teams firmly in the B Site, including the anticipated debut of the former Ninjas in Pyjamas team on Dignitas:
- MAD Lions