Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Bi-weekly Gamer: It’s time for an organized esports draft

January 8, 2018 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

With all of the changes being made in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), and with the Overwatch League (OWL) kicking off this month, it’s no surprise that there are a slew of names out there in esports right now that viewers aren’t familiar with.

In any sport, rookies are one of the biggest question-mark factors. Rookies are usually younger players competing professionally for the first time; every year there are more, and every year some don’t make the cut.

The Bi-weekly Gamer is a column about competitive gaming that appears in every issue of Nexus.

So how do organizations know which players are the top prospects and the ones to throw money at? The answer lies in scouting, which, traditionally, required keeping track of the player throughout their amateur career. Scouting has remained quite traditional in esports; the change from traditional sports comes when teams sign rookies. In many sports, there’s one day of the year that all the competing teams get together and take turns drafting top prospects for their upcoming seasons. This draft allows rookies the chance to get noticed and signed, even if they aren’t the top pick.

As the North American LCS and OWL both toss nods toward traditional sports structures, I think it’s time for organizers to set up a proper draft system. It’s no secret that many of the esports pros are young, but with restrictions in place to prevent anyone under 18 from professionally competing, organizations often snatch up talent early and let them play on their amateur teams before either promoting them to their main team or dropping them. With an organized draft, players could have that definitive answer before they commit to a team, and before they sign a contract that they may come to regret.

Ultimately, an organized draft may take years to work out and it may not be perfect. But when there starts to be a push for one by players, the leagues will notice, and they will make some serious changes.

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