FACEIT's Michele Attisani: "Major is a huge milestone for us; CS:GO is in our DNA"

We sat down with FACEIT co-founder and Chief Business Officer (CBO) Michele Attisani ahead of the Major announcement to discuss what the company has in store for the $1 million competition. 

Earlier on Thursday, FACEIT was officially awarded its first Counter-Strike Major, which will culminate with a live event in London at the prestigious SSE Arena, Wembley, from September 20-23.

FACEIT's Michele Attisani talks about the company's plans for the Major

It is by far the biggest project in FACEIT's history, so we quizzed the company's co-founder and Chief Business Officer (CBO) Michele Attisani on a number of topics, including the bidding process, the difference in approach between ECS and the Major, the streaming platform for the competition, and more.

This will be the first CS:GO Major awarded to FACEIT and it represents your most ambitious project. What is the general feeling in the company?

We feel both excited and honored to be hosting a Major. CS:GO is in our DNA. We started supporting it soon after the release with our grassroots competitions on our platform and $1,500 monthly tournaments, so being able to host a Major is a huge milestone for our company. 

There were some other big-name tournament organisers in contention, including some who have organised Majors in the past. What do you think that made Valve pick your project?

We’re aware of very competitive proposals from other organisers, which makes it even more special and keeps us even more motivated to deliver the best possible product. 

Our team has produced over 2,000 hours of live CS:GO content. With ECS, we have been focusing on creating an entertaining show with top teams and talents and a new, innovative way of watching the game and events. We’ve introduced features such as our new HUD (custom for different in-game situations and in the arena), dedicated stats and analysis segments, loot drops, as well as innovative tournament systems which are more open for the community through the FACEIT Platform.

We want to bring all these things, our experience and a lot more to the Major. Starting from the online qualifiers we’ll announce all the changes in the lead up to the tournament. While for some companies CS:GO is one of many games, it has been our main focus for the last few years and we invested a huge amount of resources to improve our product. 

What ultimately made you choose London to host the event and not another city? For example, the most recent Major had different tournament stages in different cities...

The UK has a large CS:GO player base and viewership. Our London-based ECS tournaments have seen significant growth in attendance over the last two years, and that gives us the executional experience we need to take the event to the next level. 

This will be the largest esports event in UK history, which makes it stand out even outside of the CS:GO community. On top of that, it is a city that is easy to reach from all corners of the world and will be able to give the attendees and players a great experience beyond the tournament itself. 

Historically, Minors and online qualifiers have been a mess. FACEIT has a lot of experience in terms of qualifiers, so should we expect a better system this time around?

Our aim is to create a stable and clear path for teams participating in the qualifiers, as well as several different ways to progress through the different stages. We’ll make sure that everyone has a chance to participate, announcing format and dates well in advance and designing a fair process. It is also important to create similar qualifying processes for the different regions, while respecting the different infrastructures in place, to create equal chances for all the teams. 

The Major is a celebration of CS:GO, we want to make it as engaging as possible for the fans, including having the largest possible number of teams in the qualifiers.

Could it be possible that the Major will be streamed on YouTube? The ECS Season 4 Finals already had a drop loot feature (connected to FACEIT accounts, not Steam, though).

It’s great to see different streaming platforms investing in their products and fighting for broadcasting rights as competition eventually provides for better platforms and content for the fans/community. We have worked very hard with YouTube to help them improve the experience and creating new features together, such as the loot drops and player statistics. We’re very happy with the progress but we still have work to do for ECS.

Regarding the Major, we’re talking with different platforms and assessing which value each can bring to the CS:GO community as well as possible exclusive features for the Major. 

The recent ELEAGUE Major was also broadcast on TBS. Is there any TV deal in the works for your Major? 

Over the past two years, many TV broadcasters have dipped their toe into esports. We had the privilege to be a part of this process working directly with NBC Sports, ELEAGUE and ESPN in the US, and many others internationally.

With the Major, we have already seen substantial interest in linear broadcasting from a lot of different regions, including the US. You should definitely expect to hear more about this over the coming months.

The SSE Arena sold out for the ECS Season 3 Finals

In your recent interview at the ECS Season 4 Finals, you mentioned that, if you succeeded in getting the Major, you would like to try a different approach, more focused on the community. How will this materialise?

Our team is made up of huge CS:GO fans, and everyone has contributed ideas, which means our approach will be fun and different as we want to make sure this is a Major to remember. You’ll have to watch this space if you want to find out more! 

You said that, from a content point of view, you tried to make the show "more as a general form of entertainment”, something that was clearly visible in Cancun. Considering that the Major is a completely different type of event, one that represents the developer of the game, will you go for a 'soberer’ approach? How will you find the balance between strict and innovative?

The ECS Season 4 Finals in Cancun was a special kind of event, with it being player-only, at a resort in a tropical paradise. We embraced that in our broadcast with video content and the talent commentating in a more relaxed style. 

With the ECS Season 4 Finals, we managed to put a large amount of focus on the extra video content and interaction with the players, which is something we’ll definitely keep for the Major as well. The Major is not only a celebration of the game, but also of the community. The style will definitely be different and a bit soberer, but we’ll keep a good dose of fun as well. 

The UK has never had a single player representing it at a Major. How do you plan to engage with and appeal to a community that may not be represented at the event?

Technically, this is incorrect as both James and Dan have played several show matches at the Majors [laughs].  

The attendance and viewership of ECS Season 3 Finals last summer demonstrate the potential of the UK community. The number of players in UK-focused tournaments, such as in the UK Pro League Hub on FACEIT, has also continued to grow, as have other initiatives from Gfinity and ESL UK, to name but a few. They have a great passion for the game and enjoy watching the best teams in the world, regardless of where they are from. We are more than confident that we will have a great turnout for the event, especially when you consider that we sold out the arena for ECS 3.

Recently, FACEIT announced an overhaul of the qualification system for the ECS, with the introduction of the Challenger Cup. What made you decide to drop the Development League? What has the community’s response to these changes been like?

This is the first step we have taken to improve the qualifying process for ECS. Making it more open, giving more relevance to the content of the Challenger Cup and offering more visibility to up and coming teams.

The decision was made based on feedback from the community, smaller teams, as well as the teams and players who are representatives on the ECS Governing Committee. So far, the feedback has been positive, but we’ll be looking to work on enhancing the format together with the ECS Governing Committee and the community.

Ireland tsarbomba 
Oh wow so excited I do hope the major is going to be awesome
2018-02-22 14:31
2018-02-22 14:31
Ireland tsarbomba 
don't be r00d to brits :(
2018-02-22 14:32
Nepal TYZ4 
James and Dan OMEGALUL
2018-02-22 14:33
Ireland tsarbomba 
Best caster duo ever
2018-02-22 14:34
Brazil junera 
Michele is a girl name
2018-02-22 14:45
Ireland tsarbomba 
Depends, it can be a man's name as well, in France it's simple, Michel is for men, Michelle is for women
2018-02-22 14:46
India Cutlass 
Ddk and black ddk confirmed let's go
2018-02-22 14:49
Ireland tsarbomba 
2018-02-22 14:49
what i disgrace to put such huge cs event to a muslim city with no cs scene! get ready for no crowd
2018-02-22 17:18
Iran scene....
2018-02-22 20:01
Cyprus delur 
you actually think they're better than Sado and HenryG? Retarded
2018-03-05 22:47
Ireland tsarbomba 
It's your opinion mate I prefer DDK and James, I like the chemistry between those two, I prefer their voices over Sado's and Henry's and I think they're funnier overall. But I understand that someone could prefer sado and henry they're not bad
2018-03-06 09:04
India Cutlass 
2018-02-22 14:49
FalleN | 
France nyygma 
And I still plays faceit -Norwegian
2018-02-22 14:39
Where's the joke?
2018-02-22 14:40
FalleN | 
France nyygma 
It's not a joke '-'
2018-02-22 14:57
Denmark Twick_ 
France brain at Its finest
2018-02-22 18:30
FalleN | 
France nyygma 
2018-02-22 18:33
Denmark Twick_ 
2018-02-22 20:48
we have a great legacy, although its glory days are long gone :-( 1.6 & CSS had some strong UK teams... once upon a time. Not sure what happened with the transition to CSGO, though.
2018-02-22 14:46
ZywOo | 
France ZywHere 
Lmao Cs Uk Pick one
2018-02-24 13:43
shouldn't that read pro cs uk pick one? you're welcome.
2018-02-25 20:23
Paraguay HighAIching 
uk 4 majors norway how many?
2018-02-22 14:59
United Kingdom INGEMARSSON_ 
Michele Attisani Sounds completely English.
2018-02-22 15:21
ZywOo | 
France ZywHere 
+1 he probably came to the cultural enrichment
2018-02-24 13:55
Portugal samf0rd 
+1 that's was funny
2018-02-22 16:32
Mate we're shit at it, but we run or present loads of it. Machine, Henry G, White James Bardolph and James Bardolph, Faceit is run in the UK and fnatic as an organisation is british. Then RedEye, Thorin, bunch of upcoming casters. AND SOMEHOW WE'RE STILL SHIT AT PLAYING IT I DON'T GET IT (OK it's cause players are toxic as fuck, but still)
2018-02-22 16:40
Bunch of YouTubers too 3ksphilips etc
2018-02-22 18:26
Norway Barter6 
you mean the fartmaster? kek
2018-02-22 22:47
Denmark Xipingu 
2018-02-22 18:34
MUTiRiS | 
Portugal antCB 
what about dignitas?
2018-02-24 00:33
ZywOo | 
United States TeamSESH 
Wind and Rain top 10 in 3 months. Screenshot this.
2018-02-22 18:39
Michele is for boys in italy and he is italian
2018-02-23 20:56
Dude... You are from Norway.
2018-03-03 13:41
oskar | 
Germany MouzTOP1 
2018-02-22 14:30
2018-02-22 14:30
Macau fivemorning 
I got got got loyalty got royalty inside my
2018-02-22 14:31
Germany zeolikk10years 
2018-02-22 14:30
United States AmericaIsBest 
Who asked
2018-02-22 14:31
Slovakia flegmaa 
2018-02-22 14:31
United Kingdom SAVAGExo 
2018-02-22 14:31
United Kingdom Fizzhaz 
2018-02-22 14:31
Portugal andr3yume 
2018-02-22 14:31
Syria bezaa 
Portugese CS LUL
2018-02-22 16:42
Portugal andr3yume 
egyptian CS LUL
2018-02-22 16:44
Syria bezaa 
Do you mean Syria? Because It's the Syrian flag not the Egyptian
2018-02-22 16:48
United States HorchataMan 
2018-02-22 17:19
Best t strats
2018-02-25 11:22
+ 9999999 cracked me up.
2018-03-04 00:48
0 teams from UK @ LONDON MAJOR
2018-02-22 14:31
China Tonzzy 
2018-02-23 03:48
Russia J0YM 
2018-02-22 14:31
Korea EraXYT 
2018-02-22 14:31
"csgo is in our dna" HE IS A FREAKING ZOMBIE GUYS
2018-02-22 14:31
United States gtmaniacmda 
got 'em
2018-02-28 19:56
2018-02-22 14:31
Xyp9x | 
Denmark Stvn_ 
ez 4 TACO
2018-02-22 14:31
Michele... Was not expecting a picture of a bearded guy
2018-02-22 14:32
haha, same here!
2018-02-22 14:37
Are you assuming his gender?
2018-02-22 14:41
michele =/= michelle ,can u even spell?
2018-02-23 21:34
EU majors > NA majors
2018-02-22 14:32
0 CIS Major LOL
2018-02-22 14:52
Zeus | 
Russia Klugervl 
Major in London, waiting CIS minor somewhere in Amsterdam...
2018-02-22 15:57
Ukraine margred 
2018-02-22 16:17
Switzerland FoxCH 
2018-02-22 14:33
Sweden lagcats 
nice nice
2018-02-22 14:33
Austria chris_de_b0ng 
Expected a girl 8/8 nice bait miraa
2018-02-22 14:34
xd +1
2018-02-22 18:48
Ez asf.
2018-02-22 14:35
SlooKy | 
Belarus bys3l2k 
fuck UK Major
2018-02-22 14:35
Norway anMu 
>UK >CS in DNA Pick one xDDD
2018-02-22 14:35
""Major is a huge milestone for us; CS:GO is in our DNA"" uk cs XDDD nicejoke
2018-02-22 14:36
He meant “Faceit” as a company,not “UK”
2018-02-22 15:11
7 months ResidentSleeper
2018-02-22 14:36
Isn't Michele a girl name?
2018-02-22 14:37
North America ksp52 
EU is weird
2018-02-22 14:42
Spain G3CK0 
Isnt Donald a name of a duck? America is weird
2018-02-22 14:48
2018-02-22 15:11
United States Jammin800k 
Yeah the name of a personified male duck... ?
2018-02-22 16:36
Finland Smoonah 
how is naming a fucking duck weird?
2018-02-22 20:22
Finland Smoonah 
it's unisex - "Michelle" is usually girl while male can be "Mitchel" but spelled like Michelelel
2018-02-22 20:24
7/8 bait. Well done HLTV. - I don't bait, I only rate.
2018-02-22 14:37
United Kingdom INGEMARSSON_ 
You had one job and fucked it. Should be HLTV_Pro_Baiter_Rater
2018-02-22 15:22
Good read
2018-02-22 14:40
Poland Carry Potter 
Jason Statham to host a major? lol
2018-02-22 14:40
Serbia whoa!! 
Gl,hope it will be a blast.
2018-02-22 14:43
jks | 
Germany wh1teey 
2018-02-22 14:43
Ukraine SuperMetal 
Cool rule would be if they actually add 1 UK only qualifier spot and leave only 1 Asian to have a home team
2018-02-22 14:47
>Could it be possible that the Major will be streamed on YouTube? GOD PLEASE NO
2018-02-22 14:50
Better than Facebook I'm not complaining
2018-02-22 14:51
2018-02-22 14:50
Ez for qbf
2018-02-22 14:55
United Kingdom skullfellout 
2018-02-22 15:01
Csgo for autism
2018-02-22 15:03
Poland Rafiuuu 
it's time for pasha london school
2018-02-22 15:05
Brazil TEUS1 
CIS legends PogChamp
2018-02-22 15:07
Israel xpicyyy 
maybe being toxic is your dna UK CS LUL
2018-02-22 15:08
You better fix your trash 128tick servers, adn even worse MM system, where you can go SOLO Q and get matched vs full premades 8/10 times
2018-02-22 15:10
Brazil davidzor 
2018-02-22 15:30
Romania danspro7 
2018-02-22 15:36
Latvia Tibro 
lmao uk but nvm
2018-02-22 15:47
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
well expected! We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL! Kreygasm
2018-02-22 15:53
Moldova OptimusBlyad 
2018-02-22 16:00
ez4sodah in qualies
2018-02-22 16:06
Macedonia EXTOL[t] 
bad place to make a major ...
2018-02-22 16:37
United Kingdom Matt192816 
Literally have wanted this for years so excited! Will have to leave in my first few weeks of uni XD
2018-02-22 17:00
AdreN | 
Kazakhstan Aiomie 
2018-02-22 17:15
Damn haven't been this excited for a major since Columbus when I went
2018-02-22 17:21
goodluck FACEIT, well deserved!
2018-02-22 17:46
2018-02-22 17:47
No twitch no major. Only some random event with 1M prize money.
2018-02-22 17:51
Get rekt esl
2018-02-22 19:11
Serbia SF94 
>CSGO is in our DNA >UK organisation Pick one
2018-02-22 19:13
Algeria SpaceFockuZ 
ez for legend f0rest
2018-02-22 19:56
L.K.S | 
Brazil Exfm 
Just clicked cause I thought Michele was a grill /disappointed
2018-02-22 20:03
Lithuania YungDavid 
same xaxaxaxa i hoped it would be some thicc blacc grill
2018-02-23 03:04
Denmark donfrankie 
Maybe audience for at least the new legends stage also?
2018-02-22 22:12
Brazil FalsoRei 
WTF? Jason Statham
2018-02-22 23:55
Australia Roflko 
2018-02-23 03:01
Lithuania YungDavid 
Nice boy
2018-02-23 03:03
Going to be one of the best organised MAJORS in the history of CS:GO. Faceit is truly one of the best in terms of organising events. Lets hope the teams that will qualify will be one of the best aswell to bring up action packed games!
2018-02-23 03:07
only four days for major is a little bit short ,don't you think ?
2018-02-23 10:37
Brazil rsouzadk 
This is going to be awesome!
2018-02-23 10:54
2018-02-23 14:08
Csgo is in my dna -uk
2018-02-23 15:01
2018-02-23 19:21
Denmark Xipingu 
> DNA > ECS Finals were a joke ok.
2018-02-23 20:53
It's not going to take much to beat e-league.
2018-02-24 09:23
faceit platform full of cheaters, and a bad ac lol
2018-02-24 17:55
jason statham?
2018-02-26 07:27
Statham lol.... wtf hltv org
2018-02-26 14:29
Afghanistan crywolf1337 
CSGO is in the face of india
2018-02-27 18:35
Australia Roflko 
2018-02-28 12:55
Jason Statham wanna be
2018-03-01 01:56
ckN | 
Estonia ckN 
Jason Statham + Emil Christensen
2018-03-03 22:11
Sweden Sw0rdd 
2018-03-05 04:42
2018-03-06 07:35
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