BLAST Pro Series format changed as BO3 semi-finals are introduced
RFRSH Entertainment has announced major changes to the format of the BLAST Pro Series events with the introduction of best-of-three semi-finals.
The new format is part of what RFRSH Entertainment describes as the Front Row Experience, a series of initiatives "focussing on competitiveness, live- and viewer experience in a cut-throat entertainment format."
The first chance to see the new format at work will come next month at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, which will be held on July 13-14 at the HD Buttercup building (the event was originally due to be held at the Galen Center from July 12-13).
The entire tournament will be open to the public, with the group matches being held on Saturday, while the semi-finals and the grand final will be played on Sunday. The schedule for the round-robin stage has also been spread out as only two games will be played at a time with the exception of the final round, in which all three matches will be played simultaneously.
The BLAST Pro Series format had been the same since the first event, almost two years ago. However, criticism had mounted in recent months, especially after Astralis decided to skip some international events while still attending BLAST Pro Series stops - which contributed to them losing their place at the top of the world rankings to Liquid on Monday.
"The format in Los Angeles will be our first tournament with BO3 semi finals, and similar to the live show, we will tweak the format as we go along during the 2019 season and build on the elements and formats that work best for us," said Jordi Roig, Executive Producer of BLAST Pro Series.
"We appreciate and will continue to listen to the – sometimes very direct – feedback we get from fans, partners, broadcasters and all other stakeholders to become the best tournament and experience we can be.
"Los Angeles will mark yet another first for us – and this one we’ve been looking forward to presenting for a long time."
In an interview with HLTV.org conducted at last year's BLAST Pro Series Lisbon, Steen Laursen, Vice President of Communications & Brand at RFRSH Entertainment, had already admitted that the company was "looking at how to improve the tournament format", stressing that the event would remain faithful to its identity.
RFRSH did not make any mention about the BLAST Stand-off, a series of 1v1 aim duels that have been held prior to the grand finals.
Tickets for BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles are on sale on the event's official website, with single-day tickets costing $99 and a weekend ticket costing $149. With the event having been rescheduled and moved to a new location, all ticket holders have received full refunds and will need to re-purchase their tickets.
Update: On Twitter, Nicolas Estrup, Director of Product & Experience at RFRSH Entertainment, has guaranteed that the BLAST Stand-off "is not going anywhere."
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON, taking you deep into the engine room of live Counter-Strike, we’re excited to present... #BLASTProSeries #LosAngeles #FrontRow— BLAST Pro Series (@BLASTProSeries) June 5, 2019
…it's new, up close, personal, and did someone say Bo3 semi-finals? pic.twitter.com/Z3xRf5KbtZ