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Where are the eSport fans?

5 min read


Despite being such a relatively new sporting community, the eSports world seems filled with drama locally. There are always accusation of this, that and the next thing, and every other article I see includes all kinds of crazy allegation. But where are the defenders? Where are the fans who will stand by their teams?

The latest controversies

This article had two catalysts. The first was this editorial by our local shout casting celebrity, Congo Kyle. In it, he looks at the Bravado Brawl and criticizes certain teams and players for not taking part. He uses the example of Energy eSports although implies that there were others – he says how great the tournament was to get exposure as well as practice against international teams.

While in principal I agree with him, I contacted Energy eSports and was informed that there were some general communication issues on both sides. They conceded that they should have hounded the organizers for exact times, but also said that they were under the impression that most of the games would be on Saturday and Sunday. In the end, they only found out exact times on Friday afternoon, by which time some of their players had already committed to other engagements for that evening.

I’m not going to blame Congo Kyle for calling these players out on a public forum – he obviously was upset and wanted for South Africa to do better at these events. However, I do think it’s important to understand that while gamers are fully expected to make sacrifices for their game, they need to know when those sacrifices are meant to take place. Neither side was really at fault in this, so we might not want to run around pointing fingers.

Bvd brawl issue

The second catalyst was this piece from Berzerk Gaming about a recent ban in the premier league of the DGL for Call of Duty: Ghosts. The ban was apparently based on someone cheating, and the writer points to the competitive and cutthroat nature of MultiGaming Organizations (MGOs) as the source of this problem – he argues that we need a cultural shift in gaming to prevent players from feeling forced to cheat in order to gain success at the DGL.

I contacted our friends at the DGL to ask them what had happened so that I could report to all of you. Upon looking into it, they informed me that there was most likely a false positive from Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) resulting in a ban. The DGL automatically bans anyone with a VAC ban, but once it is resolved, the player/team would be fully re-instated.

So both of these events were storms in a teacup, but I noticed that the comments almost universally blamed the players, the MGOs and eSports in general – where were the people to defend it?

Where is the Suarez factor?

Suarez bite

For those who do or don’t follow football, there was some controversy this week when Liverpool’s Uruguayan player, Suarez, seemed to bite another player. Some were calling for bans against Suarez, while Liverpool fans came out to defend their player – even though in this context he was actually playing for another team. On a similar note, I support the New York Knicks for basketball – I know they are awful at times, but I still support them no matter what. It’s been so many years since I actually watched the NBA that I have no idea who the players are, but I still support my team regardless.

eSports in South Africa is lacking in this area. Where were the fans to come out and defend their favorite players or teams? Why don’t we see people who spectated these events coming out in defense of South African eSports? Unfortunately, the answer is quite a sad one.

Losing the benefit of the doubt


We have written here before about the toxic nature of many competitive eSports. We’ve covered issues of racism, sexism, poor sportsmanship and generally unethical behavior. It appears to happen at all levels, across all platforms and games. There are videos that circulate the web of our local eSports pros hurling expletives at other players during LAN events, and it seems that on a regular basis I am informed of some or other trespass in eSports.

I doubt that we are the only country with this problem in eSports, and traditional sports often have just as much controversy. Perhaps it is a good sign that we are so outraged by it, then. Perhaps it means that as fans we hold our eSports athletes to a higher standard than other spectators do. However, this also means that when we hear negative things about eSports, we are inclined to just believe the worst. Rather than defend the players or teams, we shrug and write it off as yet another failing in our local eSports.

Where do we go from here?

Dendi hook

The only way forward is truly to just support these events. To learn about the players and root for them based on something esoteric that makes you like them. I can’t tell you why I love Dendi so much and therefore support Na’Vi – maybe it’s because he’s quirky and funny, or maybe it’s because he’s the best solo-mid player in Dota – whatever the reason, I will root for Na’Vi regardless of how well they perform at The International. Who will you be supporting when the DGL finals roll around? Are you rooting for Energy eSports because you love that logo, or perhaps you want to egg on the rivalry between Bravado Blue and Bravado Emotion. Maybe you’re keen to find an underdog to support. Whatever it is, I think it’s high time that we started to rally behind specific teams or organizations – perhaps then their players will hold themselves to higher standards.

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Last Updated: June 26, 2014


  1. Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

    June 26, 2014 at 15:34

    Good article Zoe, even if you are a dirrrdy ‘Murican πŸ˜›

    You raise some damn fine points there I must say.


  2. Rags

    June 26, 2014 at 15:36

    Occams razor. The local players do not have fans.
    Also defending someone when he is in the wrong is stupid.


    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 26, 2014 at 15:37

      Heh, good point


    • Rince&Shitity

      June 26, 2014 at 15:42



    • Congo

      June 26, 2014 at 15:45

      Of course they have fans. Maybe not many for individual local players but MGOs definitely have devoted followers. Could you clarify who was defending who in the wrong? If it was me I’d like to clear it up as best as possible.


      • Rags

        June 26, 2014 at 16:04

        It was just a general comment, not aimed at you specifically, maybe mostly towards Suarez. I love the boks, but that does not stop me from calling Bakkies a thug. One cannot defend that cannibalistic South American either. Hell I till hate him for that handball! πŸ˜›

        As for the fans, yeah sure. I follow Quake 3 and I consider myself a fan of Cooller. But locally its mostly friendships, rivalries and mutual respect between the guys.


  3. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    June 26, 2014 at 15:42

    Good article. But I think it goes deeper than us just believing the worst.

    eSports is still very new in SA and we haven’t had much chance to really pick our favourite teams or players. THe fact is that the roud to eSports in SA has been so pockmarked with bad press that it’s hard to choose a team or player to root for because everytime we want to, something happens that spoils the team for us.

    The best example obviously being Rize. The press was so bad around them that I battle to remember who the team was that was done in by Rize.

    Had this been Rugby or any other established sport I would probably have rooted for the guys who got done in but the fact is the media surrounding eSports is so poisoned (and I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s difficult to report good news for eSports when there is only (mostly) bad news).

    Yes, our mindsets need to change and perhaps we need to pick someone and start cheering them no matter what. But the fact is fan loyalty is still being built in this very new sporting scene and the loyalty barely has a chance to manifest because of all the issues (Be it the teams or terrible planning from the organisations running eSports locally).

    Anyway my 2c worth


    • Congo

      June 26, 2014 at 15:51

      To reply to your first paragraph: Depending on the eSports title I think teams have been around long enough for adamant viewers to pick sides. That goes with supporting a team [MGO]. As for players there are a few that people really enjoy watching, Flarez and seeM for example are two players people really enjoy (from what I’ve heard). The problem with building a fanbase for a single player is that they have no way of engaging their fans and growing their fanbase once it’s established. We can’t stream in South Africa which is a major factor, I feel.


      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

        June 26, 2014 at 16:06

        Fair point. Some of them have been around long enough. I do agree. However, as you pointed out, actually watching the games and streaming is a bit of a problem in SA. Our bandwidth quality simply isn’t good enough for us to really enjoy the sport like we would a game of rugby etc.

        In SA it just isn’t widespread enough and hasn’t got the correct infrastructure yet.

        So yeah, the article above makes good points and we as the viewers of the sport are partially to blame because we just don’t seem to have that loyalty that we do with football/rugby/sport of choice.

        But I do feel that is is largely due to the fact that the sport hasn’t grown enough in SA and doesn’t see enough “good” media to get us amped for it the way we should be.

        Again, no real fault of the media but rather the players/teams and organisations running the show that constantly are bringing themselves in to bad light due to their rather terrible actions in so many cases.

        But perhaps the media could help jump start things by spinning bad news slightly differently and trying to report more on the good news for the sport.

        Just like Zoe is trying to do with this article. *tips hat to Zoe*


  4. Rince&Shitity

    June 26, 2014 at 15:42

    You can’t tell us why you love Dendi so much? Lies Zoe, Lies! Great article.


    • Sageville

      June 26, 2014 at 16:05

      GORDAMMITMAN I was trying to have a Bieber-free day and you waltz in a PK that idea!


      • Rince&Shitity

        June 26, 2014 at 16:09

        My work is done! πŸ˜‰


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      June 26, 2014 at 16:12



    • ToshZA

      June 26, 2014 at 17:26

      She’s a little boy-ish, don’t you think?


  5. MakeItLegal

    June 26, 2014 at 15:48

    nice read


  6. Congo

    June 26, 2014 at 15:48

    Thanks for the follow up Zoe. Luckily in the end South African team Bvd Emotion rocked out 3-0 vs. Infused and won the whole event. I doubt my rant helped but thanks for pointing it out and digging a bit deeper.

    I wasn’t necessarily calling them out. Unfortunately sometimes these things are bit too close to home so it’s very difficult reporting on certain matters.


    • Hammersteyn

      June 26, 2014 at 15:49

      Congrats to Bravado Emotion then.


  7. Kromas

    June 26, 2014 at 15:48

    I am already a fan of Dance Revolution E-Sport!


    • Weanerdog

      June 26, 2014 at 16:07

      Is this because you get to watch woman bouncing up and down?


  8. HvR - Still dislikes Random.or

    June 26, 2014 at 15:54

    The thing is I do not want, or have the time to support local eSports events.

    eSports, like rugby, soccer, motorsport and field hockey I only watch and support when it is big international events and it is a match between the the bets in the world.


  9. Weanerdog

    June 26, 2014 at 16:08

    I must be honest, I have tried to stream a few events but it seems all I ever see is a bunch of guys sitting around waiting for the event to begin and when it does I am kind of like hey that looks fun, and I shut down and go play something.


    • Rags

      June 26, 2014 at 16:10

      Get another monitor. And do both. πŸ˜›


      • Weanerdog

        June 26, 2014 at 16:39

        Second monitor is for stream mainstream sports and the third is for the porn.


        • Rags

          June 26, 2014 at 16:50

          Nice setup ;D


  10. UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    June 26, 2014 at 16:13

    I have watched local DOTA2 games, but they just tend to lack the factor that keeps me watching with international games. Games tend to move slower and people make more stupid mistakes. It bores me =/


  11. caponeil

    June 26, 2014 at 16:30

    You really want to know what the problem in RSA E-Sports is. Too many people are only interested in complete and utter personal gain. Everyone is working a bloody angle some form or another. This includes media, players, MGO’s and and our local “celebrities”. Look at the greater good first, RSA E-Sports need this most, The rest will follow!


    • Congo

      June 27, 2014 at 10:46

      What are you talking about? You can’t just go around making statements like this. I’ve never called myself or even considered myself a “celebrity”. I’ve made a crap ton of sacrifices to be doing what I’m doing at the moment and my number one goal from the start has been community and local eSports improvement. If you followed the work I do I think you’d have a much better understanding of what it is I actually do. I’ve in fact been shoutcasting a lot less lately and focussing a lot on the big picture. Cut me real deep, man.


      • caponeil

        June 27, 2014 at 11:31

        I did not mention a single name but hey if the shoe fits…… Why care what I have to say anyway, I am a nobody! Look mate, it is not aimed at you directly but rather the collective of E-Sports.


  12. SangSang

    June 26, 2014 at 16:49

    calling bullshit @ the false-positive vac ban


  13. Ross Woofels Mason

    June 27, 2014 at 08:37

    How is anyone supposed to pick sides of local stuff when our coverage is shocking? 99% of people here unless you are playing the eSport have little to no idea who any of these people are.

    No South African gamer has made such a name for themselves yet to perk any interest from anyone. I used to Run Get Hype gaming events with a buddy of mine and I can tell you it was pretty painful trying to organize a tournament for people.

    So many of our “esports professionals” feel entitled to special treatment, like the one tournament we did players from Pretoria wanted us to postpone a tournament because one of their top players were down and out. Thing is people from cpt had already booked and paid for the tickets.

    So told them sorry can’t do and they got pissy.

    Any sport Esport or not is going to have it’s fair share of retards, just look at football hooligans or even Canda! One of the friendliest places on earth (according to the internet), their hocky fans have beaten up and tied fans of opposing teams to freaking rail way tracks!!!

    Imo where do go from here with Esports in SA? Starts with the contenders themsevles:

    1: Drop the attitudes.

    2: It’s your duty to register, find out times and arrive at the venue on time. If the organizers are screwing around pester them until you find out the details. If they can’t give it to you chances are the tournament or the event would not be worth your time or money anyway.

    3: Realize this is not overseas, we have a very small amount of people here with very little backing trying to get tournaments up and running. Many tournament organizers overseas have backing from major companies such as Capcom, Madcats, Blizzard and Valve. Organizers are trying their best with what they have and players being difficult do not make this any easier for anyone.


    Bottom line for me is everyone needs to leave their ego’s at the door and do their best to help each other whether you are a player or an organizer.


  14. NickTheEagle

    June 27, 2014 at 08:57

    Theres nothing to really report on in esports unless: A player has been banned or theres been some kind of negative or unusual thing thats happened. If nothing bad/unusual happens theres nothing to really report on except game scores/team changes?


    • Congo

      June 27, 2014 at 10:42

      You’re clearly following the wrong people/news sites.


      • NickTheEagle

        June 27, 2014 at 13:14

        Please enlighten me then πŸ˜‰ and everyone who feels the same. Where should i be reading.


  15. Gerhard Davids

    June 27, 2014 at 09:11

    Not to mention the big fiasco at the dreamhack hearthstone finals!


  16. RikiBobbi

    June 27, 2014 at 13:40

    I feel it is up to every single person to make efforts into watching their favourite e-sport, picking their favourite MGO/team/player, then following them and become a fan. I run a local e-sports lounge and their is clear evidence that some of the premier teams, like BvD and eN, have their true fans and who I see come regularly to support them. Of course there are more people who support INT teams live Na’vi and Alliance just because of the quality of everything (streaming/teamplay etc) but I have no doubt that in time, our own teams and players and MGO’s will get to that point. As long as the game is competitive, the players will always be competitive towards each other, and sometimes emotions get the best of them, which is normal in every sport. Perhaps, when something obvious like this happens, there should not be a whole big article about it. Like mentioned before, rather stick to the positives, and report on that!


  17. Change needed

    July 10, 2014 at 16:36

    SA needs to take more tips from overseas events look at MLG there coverage of there events its amazing look at there set up at each event the shout casting area there screen setups the seat layouts were the gamers play and each match is covered everything is done so pro not here u have to be a mgo or a top prem team only then u get coverage. is it cause of money ? is money a problem for the organisers do we need to maybe get more overseas organisers involved . they going to have to pull there fingers out there asses to be on that level. dgl need to take a few more trips up to sum MLG events and get involved with there organisers. but yet we all still support dgl cause we love gaming and its all we got but if sumthing bigger game along league wise they would be left in the dust and its sad cause dgl really tries hard and gamers wouldn’t give a fuck they would go wre its better . better prizes better money better everything that’s the problem the players here and there egos . with local lan comps ppl wont go if theres nothing to win what happened to just jamming a comp cause its fun or just being the best team at the comp fucken everyone wants shit the whole time that’s y teams are never the same at dgl transfer window opens bam fucken team changed that window should only be changes with in the clan not outside maybe then players would bond better in teams can grow as one: team means fuck all here that’s y theres always kak write ups about poaching and stealing. its a total fuck up in SA ESPORTS only the gamers can make a change here as soon as everyone stops being keyboard worries and massive im the best egos shit will change


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