CSL is getting some great additions this upcoming season. Before I go into detail, though, I’d like to let you know that registration for the 2019-2020 season is free! If you want to compete for over $400,000 in scholarship prizes, grab your team and register before October 13th. You can find more information about registering here.
In addition to this season’s upgrade in prizing and the removal of the registration fee, CSL is also announcing its partnership with GameStop! I had a chance to ask Duran Parsi, the CEO of CSL, a few questions about the partnership, what it means for CSL, and what he thinks the future of collegiate esports will look like.
The interview below has been edited for brevity and clarity.
How did the partnership with GameStop come about, and what does it entail for CSL? Does this also mean we’ll see more events like the GameStop Weeklies?
GameStop was looking to get involved in esports and we both mutually want to invest into the esports community. The partnership seemed like a natural fit, and we were able to make it happen. GameStop is helping make CSL free this year, providing support and prizing for the GameStop Weeklies and a few other things that are currently in the works.
What was the idea behind moving to free registration? How do you think it will impact this season overall?
Well, a big part of it was sponsors like GameStop coming on board and providing us funding to remove the need for registration fees. To be honest, it's an experiment. I personally am a fan of registration fees, but I'm excited to see what happens now that we've removed them. There’s a balance to it. Registration fees increase “buy in,” which leads to a lower amount of forfeits, while no fees allow more teams to play. I think it’ll make more casual players think about signing up because there's less of a down side for them. That's the hope at least!
What do you think the future of CSL and collegiate esports is going to look like? How would you like it to “fit” into the scene of esports?
I'd love to see more connections between collegiate and professional play. If a college player could earn a draft position, a tryout on a pro team, things like that, it'd be awesome. We've done this type of thing before with Madden, and I want to see it become the norm, not the exception. Other than that, just providing increasingly bigger and better opportunities for students at any level who want to compete is what I want to see and is what I’m trying to make happen at CSL.
I also wanted to see how a couple of veteran CSL competitors felt about the new season, so I also had a quick chat with three of the defending two-time CSL Dota 2 champions from the Rochester Institute of Technology: Carter “Eradicate” Kerstetter, Benjamin “Zanthous” Morgan, and Reed “Doggie” Cogliano.
I was greeted by three lively teammates and friends who had just finished a game of Dota. Each of them seemed excited to talk about CSL, their previous showings, and what they expect moving into the upcoming season.
The interview below has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Do you guys feel any pressure going into next season having won two times previously, or is this nothing new?
Doggie: I personally feel that I still want to do well; I still have the drive and motivation to win. For me, the pressure is because I want to do well as a player, not because I’ve won before.
Eradicate: I don’t have a good answer. [laughs] I feel pressure because, regardless of having a slightly different roster, I want us to continue to do just as well as we’ve done before. So for me, there’s that kind of pressure.
Zanthous: We have some room to grow before we’re back at the peak we were last season. [pause] But I think there’s probably more pressure on the new guys joining the team, rather than us.
Was it scary or nerve-wracking playing in an arena, in front of a crowd?
Zanthous: I think everything was a lot bigger at the event last season than at other LANs we’ve been to. The arena is bigger, the stage is bigger…
Eradicate: Yeah, and there were a lot more people there, too.
Zanthous: I don’t think I really focused on it for a second while playing, though.
Are there any teams you look forward to playing against? Any rivalries we should look out for?
Eradicate: I’m interested to see how good Rutgers University will be since they have a lot of new players. So I’m curious as to how they’ll do, and I’m looking forward to playing against them.
Zanthous: Yeah, [Rutgers University] has been our practice partner for a while.
Eradicate: We know all of them. [laughs]
Doggie: [laughs] Yeah, we hang out with them a lot.
Ah, so just friendly competition? No, “we have to beat them” vibes going on between you all?
Doggie: [laughs] Yeah, definitely nothing like that.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the about the upcoming season, or about the CSL in general?
Doggie: Carter, take it away. [laughs]
Eradicate: I don’t have a good one!
After a short pause of laughter from everyone, Reed had a few words to share about what competing in the CSL has done for him.
Doggie: It’s always a good time competing against other like-minded teams. I just enjoy going head to head and trying to win a game against some other lads since it’s hard to find good competition and people you can share ideas with [in Dota 2]. It’s a good time and I really appreciate that CSL gives us the environment to do that.
Zanthous: [laughingly] Yeah, nothing better than competing with your boys.
Eradicate: So wholesome.
The call erupts with laughter and the banter of three friends reminiscing about a game they love playing and competing in.
Doggie: [jokingly] What would I have if I didn’t have Dota, man?
Zanthous: I think you’d be the most successful man on the planet if you didn’t have Dota to distract you. [laughs]
At least you can put “Good Communicator” or “Great Team Building Skills” on your resume in the future.
Doggie: It’s on my resume already, dude! Not even joking!
Zanthous: Mine too! Like yeah, we have to put it on there since it takes a lot of work, and to win two years in a row is kind of a big point.
Doggie: I can show the pictures! I have evidence! [laughs]
After talking with them for a few more short minutes, I let them get back to playing and left the call.
There’s never been a better time to compete in CSL tournaments. From the prize pool upgrades and great partnerships to the higher number of teams and esports titles, the 2019-2020 season of CSL is shaping up to be an awesome experience for competitors and spectators alike. What are you waiting for? Grab your team and register to compete in your favorite game. Registration closes on October 13th!