BLAST Pro Series are facing renewed criticism following a change in the venue and ticket price for their upcoming Los Angeles CS:GO event, despite efforts to appease fans with a format improvement.
BLAST Pro Series have faced a lot of criticism in recent months on a number of fronts, with their tournament format and apparent business goals the primary targets.
The organizer has been accused of pushing towards a kind of “soft exclusivity” by securing the world’s top teams for their own tournaments while scheduling in such a way that few other events see all of the top teams in attendance at once.
In 2019, the teams signed up to the BLAST Pro Series must attend five of the seven events in the year, although reports suggest BLAST are looking to increase their number of tournaments for 2020.
This has been particularly frustrating to many viewers considering the format of the BLAST events, which is the weakest on the circuit, featuring a best-of-one round-robin group stage leading directly into a best-of-three final.
The next event on the BLAST Pro Series calendar is taking place in Los Angeles on July 13-14. In response to the criticism, BLAST have announced an update to the tournament format that will see the addition of best-of-three semi-finals directly following the group stage.
While the change will undoubtedly come as a welcome one for viewers, it’s been somewhat overshadowed by another change to the event, which has seen the location moved along with a major price increase for attendees.
Previously, BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles was due to take place at University of Southern California’s Galen Center arena. That venue has now been cancelled, and the event will instead take place at a venue that looks to be a significant downgrade.
Meanwhile, the ticket prices for the event appear to have quadrupled, from $25 before fees for a day ticket to $99 for a day ticket, or $149 for a two-day ticket.
Fans who had already purchased tickets for the Galen Center event have had their tickets refunded, and will have to buy tickets at the new price if they still wish to attend the event.
To account for the difference in price, BLAST are introducing the “Front Row Experience” in Los Angeles which will give fans new levels of access, with guided tours of event production such as producer, observer, and camera areas to give attendants a look at what goes on behind the scenes.
BLAST promise that the Los Angeles event will offer an “exclusive and intimate experience for fans”, and do so “without sacrificing the premium feeling of BLAST Pro Series”.
So far, however, the change does not seem to have been particularly popular, with the move seemingly resulting in another blow to fan perception of the tournament organizer.