JAMES BARDOLPH IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF FACE IT MEDIA AND ECS COMMENTATOR AT FACE IT LTD.DIRECTOR OF ARMSHOUSE TV, ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FIGHTING GAME BROADCASTING COMPANIES AND TOURNAMENT ORGANIZERS.
I received quality answers from the esports businessman that I thought were worth sharing. I managed to get his opinions on PixelFire’s tournament the Hitbox Challenger Cup. Additionally advice for young people wanting to get into the esports industry. James Bardolph is an expert in the esports industry with a lot of solid business knowledge.
Some questions during the interview maybe specific to the United Kingdom, as it is the location of James and I.
1. HOW DO YOU LOOK TO IMPROVE THE UK CS:GO SCENE? TO GET MORE PEOPLE INTERESTED ETC (NOT JUST CALL OF DUTY / FIFA).
Depends on what you mean specifically, as it is a question thrown around a lot, mainly in reference to lack of a competitive team in CSGO. On lower levels the scene is good in my opinion, and that is from someone who attends LANs themselves (I attended i55 LAN with a team). If you mean getting more people involved in CSGO, I think more large scale live events like the ECS finals at Wembley will encourage people a lot. Also a great opportunity for people who have met and played together online to meet in person and forge stronger relationships with each other. Perhaps events like that can help expose people to the existence of LANs in the UK like Insomnia and epicLAN. I think a lot of it is about exposure, both to people playing now who may not be aware of their local competitive scenes and also to a mainstream audience who would find it interesting.
2. WHO IMPRESSED YOU THE MOST DURING ECS SEASON 1 FINALS AND ESL ONE COLOGNE 2016?
I think it has to be Shox’s G2 who impressed the most, they beasted everyone. They were written off as a team following the exit of Ex6TenZ, and what a great way to prove people wrong. Shox playing towards the top of his capability, and ScreaM finally finding the way to unleash the beast. Everyone likes an underdog as well. The way they ran over FalleN’s team on maps the Brazilians have shown strength on was amazing.
At ESL One Cologne for me it was Liquid’s run to the final. They beat big teams to get there, tons of exciting individual play, and everything was against them. After the horror stories from their previous major where they lost multiple huge leads, the storylines from Hiko’s video as well and his CSGO career to this point, s1mple’s farewell Liquid tournament it was something beautiful to witness to watch them make the run. Such a great story. Was an honour to commentate some of it.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON THE HITBOX CHALLENGER CUP AND THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALLER TEAMS?
I like it – it’s a small cup so viewers can easily understand the storylines and follow all the teams in the tournament, and it also gives exposure to teams outside the usual suspects which is great and important for the ecosystem. We’ve seen through FPL that increased exposure to more players leads to more opportunities for everyone which is fantastic.
4. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG ESPORTS JOURNALISTS?
If you are a budding writer wanting to get into journalism, don’t get stuck doing basics like interviews. Look at Richard Lewis, Thooorin, Lurppis and real articles on various websites. Be informed about your chosen subject to write about and check and double check your information. When I had more time with photography, I always wanted to do documentary photography, however I never got beyond taking photos at protests/marches (the easy stuff) so indeed I was a basic bitch in that respect. Don’t make that mistake. Much sure you educate yourself on what makes a good journalist. Perhaps get a copy of the book ‘Essential English for journalists, editors and writers) especially if English is not your first language.
5. WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON GINXTV COMING TO SKY SPORTS?
The more exposure the better. Our ECS finals were on Ginx and a chap I used to work with randomly tuned in and saw us on there which is pretty cool. I know people who have worked with Ginx a bit and I think they are a good company to work with to give esports more exposure. Going up to the first question about the UK Scene this will definitely help! Hopefully journalists will pick up on this soon and ask more questions (ideally not ‘is esports sports’).
6. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LESSER KNOWN ESPORTS CASTERS?
Get demos/replays of games and commentate them yourself, ask commentators you respect for feedback. When you think your commentary is to an acceptable level at the very least, start uploading commentaries to youtube on your own channel, then email every org you can think of and offer your services. Tell them who you are, where you live and your general availability. If you are able to stream yourself let them know, if your connection is not good enough let them know you can be a secondary online commentator or you can commentate in person. I would have started commentating Counter Strike much earlier but my home connection still to this day has .7 upload.
7. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GAMING LOUNGES SUCH AS MELTDOWN BAR AND OMEGA SEKTOR?
I’m very familiar with Meltdown Bar, when my main job was still commercial real estate I actually helped them find their premises. It’s another great way for people to get involved and meet people, also if you have a crap PC or connection these bars are a great help. Every city I go to, if I have time I seek out a gaming cafe to play some CSGO and see what the community is like. I’ve recently found lots of smaller community-run gaming cafes which are great to see. The more the merrier.