Ex-Panda CEO reveals Ludwig’s ‘Scuffed World Tour’ Smash event killed Panda Global

Michael Gwilliam
panda global logo in smash ultimatePanda Global/Nintendo

Dr Alan Bunney, the former CEO of Panda Global, revealed new information about the demise of the company in the aftermath of Nintendo shutting down the Smash World Tour and how Ludwig’s event was the nail in the coffin for PG.

In December of 2022, two massive Smash tournaments were set to take place: VGBC’s Smash World Tour Finals and the Panda Cup Finale, but neither would happen.

The Panda Cup was the first-ever officially licensed Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Super Smash Bros Melee championship circuit, but unlike Panda, SWT didn’t have Nintendo’s blessing and notably shut down the event.

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Following Nintendo’s decision, Ludwig stepped in to host his own event dubbed the “Scuffed World Tour” and scheduled it for the same day as the Panda Cup finale, which was being boycotted by top players. Now, new information from Panda’s CEO has revealed just how damaging this was for the esports org.

Ludwig’s Smash ‘Scuffed World Tour’ allegedly killed Panda

Speaking on the Lights Out podcast with commentator EEvisu and pro players Light and Cosmos, Dr Alan explained how Ludwig’s tournament was inadvertently responsible for the end of Panda, which was being accused of playing a role in SWT’s demise.

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“Before I left, I said let’s convert it to an invitational only. There are a decent number of players boycotting us who would not go to [the Panda Cup Finale], but we can use our Sunday venue and try to get a top 8 or top 16 out of it or something,” he said.

(segment begins at 35:07)

The goal of running the event despite the backlash was to fulfill sponsor obligations, but because the event was canceled, they had to give the full $2M back, because they never earned it.

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“The reason we had to cancel it was because Ludwig decided to run his Scuffed World Tour on the same Sunday as our venue. Ludwig came in to try to save the community, but in doing so, that’s the final nail in the coffin that lost over 150 jobs,” he revealed.

Bunney did, however, reiterate that he doesn’t blame Ludwig and believes the YouTuber had no idea what would happen, but noted how it was unlikely that players invited to compete at the Scuffed World Tour would attend the Panda event.

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“There’s no malice here, but the reality is if Ludwig didn’t run the Scuffed World Tour or if he ran it on a different day, there was a potential for Panda to still be around today,” the former CEO added.

This news certainly adds an interesting new twist to the Smash World Tour drama. So far, Ludwig has yet to respond to the revelations, but in October, the YouTuber revealed that Nintendo had “sued” him over his Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series the summer before the shutdown.

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About The Author

Michael Gwilliam is a senior writer at Dexerto based in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in Overwatch, Smash, influencers, and Twitch culture. Gwilliam has written for sites across Canada including the Toronto Sun. You can contact him at michael.gwilliam@dexerto.com or on Twitter @TheGwilliam