ECS announced the invited teams for the first season of the league today, and it was met with a lot of push back from respected members of the community, teams who have truly earned spots into the league but weren't given the chance, and so on. I wanted to take some time to address this from my point-of-view, as an owner of one of the teams that did NOT get a direct invite into the league (though we DID get an invite into the playoff qualifier, which was GREATLY appreciated, as ECS is/was a big deal for us).
First, it's important to remember that, for better or worse, the "way of the world" is truly based on relationships-- as the old adage goes, "it's not what you know, it's who you know", and that's certainly been playing out (and will continue to) in the CS:GO and esports scenes for quite some time. That's the way it works. Sometimes it'll be in your favor, and often times it won't be. Unfortunately for us, this tends to work against us (for now), but I understand why and am working on changing that.
Second, one of the things I always try to remind our team of and instill into everyone that is a part of our organization is that you should never let what you CANNOT DO interfere with WHAT YOU CAN DO. In this instance, we couldn't do anything about the teams invited, but what we COULD DO was play our best CS against the team that was put in front of us. No more, no less. The bad news is that we didn't do that tonight-- we were not our best selves.
Third, the reason we weren't directly invited is 100% my fault. I haven't grown our organization / brand to the levels of many of these other orgs, despite some of the successes that our CS:GO team has had. I'm working on it, I assure you, but we aren't at that same level yet.
Fourth, do not let anyone LIE to you about how teams got spots in the ECS or other leagues-- ESPECIALLY if they claim "no one knew who was invited into the league until the last minute". That is 100% Grade-A horseshit, and I know this as absolute fact. So if you see someone tweeting it, know they're not being honest with you as a possible fan.
Fifth, as fans who want to see their favorite team or better teams compete in these leagues, you can only do so much. One thing you can do immediately is support the smaller up and comers (of which we are clearly one)-- and that doesn't mean you have to buy merchandise. It can simply be following on social media and interacting with the team. Next, RESPECTFULLY message/reply/tweet/voice your opinion to those who make the decisions. A LOT of what I read on Twitter this morning was FAR BELOW from what I would call respectful. As fans of Selfless, I ask that all of you refrain from the traditional cesspool of internet commentary. A message as simple as "Can't wait to watch the league, though a team like <TEAM NAME> really deserves to have a spot in it." gets the point across. You can always disagree without being disagreeable. Life lesson from old man Ryu here.
Sixth, Tempo Storm 1000000% deserved a spot in the league, no qualifier required. That is my opinion, but one I'll hold fast to. There are few teams that have put in the work and consistently improved to the level of those guys. And yes, I believe they deserved one OVER US, even if we beat them recently in a single series.
I say all this with a goal, direction, and vision of getting to the size/status of some of these bigger name brands, and so I say this knowing that one day we will be there:
Any org or team you are a fan of should always EARN your fan-hood, whether they have 5,000 followers on social media, or 5,000,000. I promise you that we'll always work to earn your fandom, and if there's ever anything we can be doing better, my inbox is open. We're not and never will be perfect, but we're damn sure going to try and do things the right way.
We fell a little short tonight, but I promise you, we're not out. Stick with us.