Running an event on the scale of ESL One Cologne means balancing the needs of fans and excitement, players and competitive integrity. With our CSGO events, we have chosen to run a best-of-5 final (bo5), because we feel this is the best, fairest format for such an important match. To do this means that we chose not hold two semifinals and a bo3 final on the last day of the tournament. Again, the deciding factor is tournament integrity: That option will always put one of the teams in the final at a severe disadvantage as they have less time to prepare and rest than their opponents. To avoid this we are doing two semi-finals, both bo3, on Saturday as well as two quarter-finals on Friday. An alternative here would be to do four quarter-finals (bo3). This would mean 12-14 hour days of competition. Our surveys of fans at our live esports events throughout the world has indicated that it is too much, that the days are too long. This fan feedback, as well as the consideration for the integrity of competition, drove our decision to choose the current format for the live events:
- Friday: 2 quarter-finals (bo3)
- Saturday: 2 semi-finals (bo3)
- Sunday: The grand final (bo5)
After a couple of events with this format, we are confident and pleased with how it addresses some of the challenges of running stadion-sized events in esports. Player feedback has also been good. The competitors favor it because it allows them sufficient time to prepare and rest, which allows them to put on their best possible performance and (hopefully) create some new legendary esport moments - with you in attendance!
Even though not every team will be playing on stage, our fan activities and signing sessions will allow you to interact with many of the attending teams even if they do not have a stage match.