"Outside of ECS and EPL, no league gets broadcasted on this level." an interview with Zescht
Updated: Dec 10, 2018
The first season of the United Masters League has just recently kicked off, and today I have one of the casters, Zescht, to give his thoughts on it.
First off what did you think of the league when it was first brought to your attention?
It was back in April 2018, I think, where Tom from Unikrn contacted me. I played Medieval Engineers back then, chopping trees and building a farm. I remember I got that call from him on Skype and never before we have talked about anything before. So he came at me with this league idea and I said, I can't. Though I feel like my studies are easy, without being cocky, I wasn't interested in the stress.
My thoughts were "Just another MDL, why would anyone watch that”. Tier2/3 teams still suffer from having a "small" fanbase (except Poland and Spain) and mostly bettors who just watch the matches.
Right now, I think it gives teams a real good opportunity to:
A) prove themselves B) try themselves out C) Brings them good coverage
You can really see that happening with this league. Outside of ECS and EPL, no league gets broadcasted on this level. MDL got their own official stream with very talented guys on it, not even doubting that, but mostly it's production quality that's not on the same level. You can really see that happening with this league!
Which team has been the most exciting to watch, and which has been the most disappointing?
Zescht: Sprout got me hooked. Their combination of teamplay and individuals being insane is just a circus that moves from map to map, team to team and will always combine coordination and mad fragging.
On the other hand, LDLC has been disappointed in most cases. Amanek is not on the right level and the AWP of to1nou seems to be not there. I give them, that this is "just online" to them. Means they'll take it less serious, play on an "eco mode" and see where they can make it work with the basics. Though the recent performance at DH Winter shown us that maybe, just maybe, something's wrong right now.
UML has chosen to go with a cryptocurrency prize pool, while they are not the first tournament to do this, what are your thoughts on having it this way?
Zescht: I personally have none. Ryan was not a fan of it and I can understand that. If I were a player, I also would like to have some paper money. Unikrn will, no matter how UKG (the currency used) will change in the course of the tournament, pay out the exact amount of UKG worth that day in USD. From a marketing point of view, definitely a good idea.
UML has been getting a lot of attention as opposed to some other cups/leagues that have run online the past few years. What is UML doing differently that has lead to its quick success?
Zescht: Very honestly, it was not a few days ago where SuperNova and DH started and we still got like 2.000 viewers. I was astonished, really. We got a producer, a lovely observer, a pre-show with the best FaceIt Level 1 in this world and a caster-duo. Though I would say, Xqzr and I are fairly unknown so that isn't really the reasons why we bring viewers. A lot comes down to the cooperation with the teams and the way they promote this league as well.
If this continues to rise, do you think it could become something rival to the likes of ECS or ESL Pro League?
Zescht: Difficult question. ESL and FaceIT have been doing this for a long time, they got their place and it's hard to fight them. I think with the UML we found the spot right in between MDL and EPL/ECS. To add that to your previous question about the success, UML is not partnered with Youtube or Facebook which means good CS will be broadcasted on a platform that 99% of the CS viewers love and enjoy. That makes the UML a rival to a certain extent, although I think we would need to wait a few seasons until Tier 1 teams jump on board.
No doubt, I think nobody really expected the UML to become that great from start on, but they found their place - 2 weeks and nearly 2.500 followers on Twitch are definitely something.
Talking about the finals now, can you explain how the playoffs and finals will work at the start of next year?
Zescht: Sure thing, the finals will work like this: the Top 8 of the group stage will play against each other in Bo3s, single elimination. Then the Top 4 will go to Osnabrück, where a brand new esports facility rises from the ground. So far it looked quite good. I haven't been there yet but from what I've heard it will be quite sick.
Esports facilities seem to be the next step for organizations and tournaments. What kind of things can a facility bring to the scene that benefits everyone?
Zescht: The thing is massive, it offers organizers and teams a great place to practice. Own gym, a team taking care of shuttle and food services, modern sleeping places and a few team building activities. It will be open for everyone, and Germany, besides TakeTV, needed a big "open for everyone" facility, mediawise.
Besides that, we got a few great bootcamp places in Germany, but Osnabrück is well centered in the country. In case it really reaches what I expect from it, and I got a good feeling, it will be similar to the Kinguin bootcamp place in Poland.
And finally, going forward towards some of the next seasons of the league, what do you hope to see?
Zescht: Very honestly, 8 matches a day are stressful. I want to improve, become better and better as a caster. As I moved, my social life has been put on hold pretty much. Berlin is new to me, couldn't explore it yet.
I hope next season we will have a bit more of a stretched schedule. The viewers, the teams and the crew would benefit from that. Harry, who's the head of League Operations, is doing a real good job by helping us as much as possible getting the best schedule. Besides the schedule, maybe a little switch of teams for fresh air.
Awesome, thank you so much Zescht for your time. I wish you the best of luck with UML and everything else going forward!