So recently I watched this interview of ROOTCatZ of ROOT Gaming about homegrown esports with AskJoshy, and it really got me thinking about the future of esports as a whole and how to nurture the growing community.  I thought that CatZ had many great points and lots of insight into the current state and future of esports.

The first thing he brought up that I really believe as well is allowing Koreans into North American events.  Although the gap in skill between Koreans and foreigners in SC2 has definitely tightened, there is still a wide belief that Korean players have the edge on most foreigners. CatZ stated that he didn’t think that Koreans should be allowed in events such as the North American Star League (NASL) as it doesn’t encourage North American players to pursue a high amount of success in the event, and also doesn’t promote SC2 at a regional level.

To better explain CatZ point on why this would be, I would like to use basketball as an example.  It’s a fact that North American and the US specifically has the largest amount and highest skilled basketball players in the world. That’s not to say, that other countries don’t have highly skilled basketball players, but as compared to the US other countries have a lower overall skill level in general. This is because the US has the largest community for basketball as well as a large amount of money funneling into the sport. Because of the large community and money coming into the sport, it’s obvious that there will be a large amount of skilled based around US basketball.

When you go outside the US to other countries trying to promote basketball within there own country, relative to the US, your going to have a smaller following because of a lower skill level and of less money coming in. Despite these set backs, many countries have a blossoming basketball community and much more money beginning to come into there leagues. Just think then of how players of other countries feel when they have this soon to be booming sport there playing and players from US start to compete in their leagues when they know that, even though they are very talented, the US players have an edge on them, because they are from the US. Because of this many basketball leagues outside the US have actually implemented rules only allowing a certain number of non-citizens on there teams, such as Australia. In the National Basketball League, each team is only allowed two non-Australians. This to ensure that Australians will not be overshadowed by the US players, but also allow Australians to capitalize on the new money flowing into there sport.

Now that I have gone on forever about basketball, lets relate this to SC2 and what CatZ was saying. Basically, Korea is the US of basketball. They have a huge community and a large amount of money based around SC. Therefore in how non-US basketball players are not excited to see US players in their leagues, non-Korean SC2 players wouldn’t be happy to see Korean players in their leagues. This is not to say that there should never be tournaments with people from many countries, but when you are trying to nurture a blooming sport, you must be able to promote it regionally first, and not discourage the up and coming players.

Although NASL might not want to fulfill this role of promoting SC2 strictly within North America, and remain a global league we still have hope. As AskJoshy stated in the interview, it seems that MLG might be able to pick up that role and be almost all North American players. Also, with their open bracket format, it allows for up and coming players to compete and try to make a name for themselves.

Hopefully, the presence of Koreans within the foreigner leagues will not overshadow the great talent outside of Korea, and not pull prize money away from the foreigners and back into Korea where they already have a large amount of SC funding and a booming SC community.

Other Tags: NASL, CatZ, MLG, Pro Circuit, South Korea