How Battle of BC became the biggest Smash Ultimate tournament of the year
Miracles happen, even in the most unlikely of places. Who would have thought that Battle of BC 5 would be filling the void in many hearts after the cancelation of the Smash World Tour back in December?
Last December, Smash fans were devastated when the Smash World Tour was forced to cancel before its long-awaited finals. Regardless of the reason, it felt like a major investment of time had been nuked.
What Smash World Tour did was bring the community together and unite towards something greater. Seemingly every event contributed towards the standings leading up to an end-of-year finale that would crown the best Smash player on earth.
It was going to be hype. Just looking at who had qualified, we were in for a treat. The international debut of Yoshidora, MkLeo looking to keep the title, the upstart Steve Acola, the list went on and on.
And then it was gone.
Yet here we are five months later and somehow, a tournament in Canada has managed to become the hottest event of the year and it’s still a month away.
The Battle of BC is shaping up to be the biggest event of 2023 it will be extremely hard for any other major to top with the incredible amount of international talent booked for the tournament.
All of North America’s best will be in attendance meaning that Sparg0, MkLeo, Light, Tweek, Riddles and Sonix will be battling it out.
Better late than never, Yoshidora will also be making his debut internationally, traveling from the land of the rising sun with Acola, Shuton, Miya and Ken. Plus, the world’s best Sora Kameme and the increasingly-improving Corrin Neo.
Speaking of the rest of the world, the French dimension returns with Glutonny and European stars Sisqui, Mr.R, quiK, Tarik, and the new top Luigi player, Luugi, a Canadian based in England.
I must admit, I never expected to see a tournament with this hype come out of nowhere and actually rival SWT. So, I spoke with tournament organizer and Galint Gaming CEO Kevin Dhir to find out more.
Kevin Dhir explains the majesty of Battle of BC
How did Battle of BC become the biggest Smash event of 2023?
“From day one, we said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna just try and run the biggest event we’ve ever run.’ We always kind come at it with a mentality, and from day one I was like, ‘BOBC 5 is going to be 1800 people.’ I’ve been going off from the jump and kind of from the announcement with that momentum and that energy has kind of fulfilled itself.
It’s kind of how it always goes with how we’ve run this event. If this was the last ever event we ran, would we be satisfied? And that’s kind of the approach my team and I always have with it. We knew it would be big from the jump, but now that we’re a month away and we’re looking at it, it’s like, wow.
It really, really is big. And honestly, it’s big beyond our expectations at this point. The 1800 number I just mentioned this year, I mean, we might be able to top that because of the sheer number of spectators who are gonna be coming by just to get a piece of seeing all of these amazing players gathered in person.
So it was planned, but at this point, it’s overwhelming, like overwhelmingly larger than we ever had anticipated. We’re looking like we’re gonna be potentially the most stacked event in the world this year, period.
Last year our motto for Battle of BC 4 was ‘grassroots to global’ and this year from the jump, it’s been very clear. We really are global.”
How are Vancouver and BOBC attracting Japanese pros?
“So the first Japanese player who traveled to BC was aMSa, he came to Battle of BC 2 as well. And he actually stayed at my place for a couple of days.
I got to show him around the city. We hung out a bunch and he loved it. Vancouver has a very, very diverse population and it’s very safe for pretty much anybody who comes to Vancouver here, no matter what your ethnic background is. Canada and Vancouver as well is also just a clean, beautiful city that these people get to come to as a tourist destination and a travel destination for them.They also have some degree of familiarity because now that all these Japanese players have come here and raved about how nice Vancouver is. Then they go back and they tell the other Japanese players how Battle of BC was dope, how cool Vancouver was, and how they’d love to go back.
And then we build off that, because this year it feels like there are so many Japanese top players coming with those unable to come having perfectly valid other conflicting reasons like their work schedules.
So for us at Battle of BC, it’s really important for us, especially to make BOBC the tournament some of these Japanese players will go overseas for.
We also have two Japanese translators on our team. We do a lot more than some other tournaments with regards to how we support players.
We have very good relationships with them and we want to make it as easy as possible for these players to come out here. Helping them choose what flight to do, and where to stay for their hotel.”
Tell us more about North America vs The World crew battle and the BOBC experience
“The North America versus The World crew battle was most definitely the crown jewel that we’ve kind of been cooking this whole time to unleash on the world. And honestly, the reception on that has been everything we can imagine and more.
Our tweet hit over a million views. I know tweet views and stuff are such a weird topic these days, but still a million people potentially having seen this is mind-boggling for us. So that was our real crown jewel. But at this point, we’re just really excited for the actual event and stream experience.
Cause that’s where we’re really focusing on from here. Like that’s where we’re really showing how good we are. Everything so far that people are excited about is the stuff we’re saying we’re going to be doing. Now, what’s going to close that is us delivering that experience.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
We want to blow their minds as much as the stuff we announced we’re doing if that makes sense. Like, the stream production is going to look crazy. Like the event attendee experience is going to be insane and all of these kinds of things.”
Why is Steve and the Phantom MLG tech not banned?
“We didn’t consider banning Steve for this event. We announced our event in January, I don’t remember where conversations even were locally at that point about Steve ban stuff.
But if we were Steve banning Steve at an event, we would have to be off the rip announcing that, because I don’t think it’s fair to players to change it after they have already been signing up.
It’s really difficult to monitor stuff like the tech ban, especially with how ambiguous the tech can come across in this game. So we’re opting to not be doing that.”
Will Battle of BC ever host invitationals with BTS gone?
“I think there’s a lot of talk in the community to fill that gap and invitationals require such a different resource approach relative to running a big major tournament.
The challenge with those invitationals is the funding of those events, because you’re not funding them via ticket sales. BTS was funding them via sponsorship and via merch sales. And unfortunately, that wasn’t able to work out. So for me, the big blocker on stuff like invitationals that are not open to public in any capacity is funding them.
So I think a dream vision would be an invitational with open viewership or having that invitational take place at another large event that might not be a Smash tournament, but we can add on a Smash invitational.
Trying to just find creative ways to actually make these things sustainable and viable for us would be a big part of what it would take for us to be running an invitational.
Government funding is also another aspect for it that we definitely want to explore. These top players we invite are not just gamers, they’re also content creators, streamers and personalities. And so we can do other stuff with them to highlight the region that we’re in or the city that we’re in, and the tourism and aspects like that.”
Are you already looking ahead at Battle of BC 6?
“Given everything about Battle of BC 5, we’re already starting to figure out and think about what happens with Battle of BC 6. So, it’s not too early for it. I mean, not long after Battle of BC 5 is done, we’re going to be having to figure out the initial planning for about BOBC 6.
But this year from the jump, as I said, we talked about it as being a premier super major in the same sentence with all these other big tournaments, and at this point, it’s clear BOBC is just one of the big tournaments you’re supposed to go to. If you are a top player and you are just attending the biggest tournaments, Battle of BC is on that level at this point.
We want to carry the momentum and ride it. It just seems even better next year. And we’ll learn where we need to be better after experiencing this event. It’s the hardest one we’ve ever run because of that big scale-up in venue change.
All of the Battle of BCs up until this time have been in the same venue on the University of British Columbia campus. Battle of BC 4 was the last event we did at UBC because we fully capped out. The venue could physically not hold any more people.
The building was shaking with the cheering, like physically the building was shaking cause of people cheering during top eight, which was just crazy to us. So, now we’re in the Vancouver Convention Center and this is the creme de la creme venue in Vancouver.
This is on the waterfront, 40,000 square feet. For reference, last time it was 9,000 square feet. So we’re more than four times the physical space. And that’s huge for us. So this year though, as I said, it’s the hardest because we’re having to figure out running an event in the Vancouver Convention Center, being in downtown Vancouver during a long weekend, which is incredibly extensive as you can imagine.
Battle of BC 6 then will be so much more straightforward to us, because we already know some of these big unknowns. It’s all about finding out what the unknowns are and handling them as best as we can and then preparing for them in the future. Once we’ve dealt with it, we know what to expect.”
How is Battle of BC avoiding running behind schedule?
“In our scheduling, we haven’t launched our final attendee and stream schedule, but Ultimate will be first on Sunday.
So, that will definitely help. Like, we start Ultimate Top 24 at 11:00 AM and we just run Ultimate Top 24 all the way through until Top eight. So, because Ultimate is first we won’t have the issue of East Coast running super late. And for Melee on Sunday, we’re only doing top eight.
We accommodated this in our schedule to make sure that doesn’t happen, beginning with basically giving ourselves more than enough time and shifting everything to start early.
The worry is that we have a boat party after party and that boat needs to depart. We currently have it departing at 10. Melee Grand finals are projected to end around eight. Gives us like two hours to do whatever teardown we need to do on Sunday and then head onto this boat party.
But there is a world in which everything gets super delayed and we need to delay the boat departure until we get to get onto the boat, or our team gets onto the boat. So, there’s a little bit of time stress, but we’ve given significant buffer room into our schedule. Every now and then you have crazy three-0s that happen in like eight minutes and that helps you with your schedule as well.
And you know, I’ve never wanted to complain about game five scenarios. I think the more tight game fives we get, the better it is.”
Battle of BC 5 begins May 19-21. Sign up at Start.gg to be part of the biggest Smash event of the year.