DreamHack's Marc Winther: "Stockholm is the event we pitched as a Major; two Masters in 2018"
We caught up with DreamHack Project Manager Marc Winther for a quick chat following Tuesday's announcement of DreamHack Masters Stockholm.
DreamHack announced on Tuesday morning the first details about its first confirmed Masters event for 2018, which will take place in Stockholm from August 29 to September 2, with $250,000 on offer in this 16-team competition.
With questions lingering over DreamHack's plans for 2018 and the possibility of the company hosting its first Major since Cluj-Napoca 2015, we sat down with the company's Project Manager, Marc Winther, who revealed that the Stockholm Masters is the event that DreamHack proposed to Valve as the second Major of the year and that a second Masters event will soon be revealed.
2017 had two DreamHack Masters events, one in February, in Las Vegas, and one in August/September, in Malmö. Next year’s DreamHack Masters Stockholm is scheduled for September. Does this mean we will only have one Masters event next year?
2018 will feature two DreamHack Masters events, of which we announced Stockholm today. Timing wise we’re still looking to host one in the first half of the year and one in the last half, however, we aren’t quite ready to share that first event yet. For all of our festival events in 2018, we will per tradition be rolling all that out towards year end to give a full disclosure, news regarding the first DreamHack Masters in 2018 is also just around the corner. This will benefit teams, fans and the industry all together, knowing the full calendar of what we will offer next year, nothing popping with a month notice.
It is the first time that you announce a Masters event so many months in advance. Are you looking to avoid a schedule conflict with the second Major of 2018, which will also be held in September?
With Stockholm we’ve had the event in the pipeline for quite some time and wanted to maintain it in the same weekend as Malmö this year. We’re working closely with both Stockholm Stad (the city) and Stockholm Live (the venue) on this event, so want to get out to Swedish fans that we are moving DreamHack Masters to Stockholm. Malmö has been a great host to DreamHack Masters, and it's bittersweet for us to move the event to Stockholm.
That being said, you can probably guess that the Stockholm event is indeed also the event we’ve pitched as the second Major of 2018. For now, we’ll treat it as a confirmed event and move forward, should an overlap occur, then we will address it if it happens. Hopefully, that won’t be necessary.
You have been overlooked for Majors since Cluj-Napoca, in late 2015. What is the company’s views on this topic?
There is no denying that hosting a Major is a big honour and I believe I speak for everyone working with CS:GO and esports in general at DreamHack, that missing out on hosting a Major is a disappointment. But missing out also gives all of us a drive towards showcasing what we are capable with our events and in particular DreamHack Masters. I genuinely believe we have hosted some of the best events over the last years, our first arena event, DreamHack Masters Malmö in 2016, holds a very special place in my heart.
At DreamHack we cater to the CS:GO community in a variety of ways, let that be BYOC tournaments at our festivals, DreamHack Open for a recurring tournament open to both the professional teams, the semi-professionals and amateurs, to DreamHack Masters, our biggest standalone esports event. So while hosting a Major is a big achievement and honor, and psomething we drive towards doing again, it isn’t all that matters to us.
As you recently said, DreamHack Astro Open is the playground for smaller teams to thrive and get some exposure. Is that how the company will continue to perceive these tournaments in 2018? WIll you be looking to make some changes to the circuit to make it more appealing to top teams and to the community as well?
News surrounding DreamHack Open in 2018 will be announced very soon. What I’m able to disclose at this time is that it will continue to be an integral part of our festival events on a global scale for the year and that we will cater to the CS:GO community once again.
We believe it’s important to never forget where we came from and feature a healthy ecosystem for the grassroots to make their way from the very bottom and all the way to the big stage. The goal is not to have all of the top teams in attendance, while it might align and have interest for some teams every now and then, which we obviously appreciate, the tournament is truly for everyone and that’s why we love it. For 2018 we won’t be doing big changes, but rather focus on improving the qualification process and making sure it’s announced in proper time.
We hope the community continues to support DreamHack Open and tune in, we believe that all tournament organizers only focusing on the top of the pyramid will create long term sustainability problems with CS:GO, and proud to champion a tournament series not exclusively catering only to the world’s best.
ESL and DreamHack are both owned by the Modern Times Group (MTG). Is there any sort of cooperation between the two organisers when it comes to event planning/hosting, or do you run independently from one another?
While we have the same parent company, our operations are our own, and we independently plan and operate what we do. We do our best to avoid overlaps with ESL, just as we do all other CS:GO tournament organizers.