iBUYPOWER 'security': Letting esports down

The conclusion of the iBUYPOWER Masters IV saw Team Liquid take on Astralis in the final of an event that had definitely struggled to get to that point. Tech issues, audio issues, problems with the PCs and the areas they were in, a lack of noise-cancelling headphones and many other mistakes by the TOs meant that the headlines around the event were largely negative, despite some lovely CSGO and some of the world’s best on stage on Los Angeles.

Sadly, though, much of what was good about the event was overshadowed, and one topic in particular cannot be ignored. Jarek ‘DeKay’ Lewis, of VPEsports, reported that people going into the venue were not having their bags checked, or even scanned by a metal detector, sparking a debate on Twitter. While everyone agreed that bag checks should have taken place, some felt DeKay would have been better off not going public with the information until the situation had been resolved, although he claimed that was not possible.

In fact, according to the writer, the organisers were even publically being dishonest about the fact, which, of course, puts the entire venue, players, staff and crowd at risk. In the wake of the tragedy in Jacksonville last year, esports is more vigilant than ever about event security, and rightly so. Tech issues and a lack of noise-cancelling headphones are one thing, but any TO that cannot keep its customers and star attractions safe must be severely questioned and, for IBP, this was an egregious error it needs to address.

But that was Friday

There are those among the CSGO crowd who would say IBP has already addressed this, by asking the crowd to leave and then offering refunds to the people who attended on day one, which fundamentally not only misses the point of security at events but also shows a lack of understanding about the potential impact. One of the key advantages of esports over traditional sport is the number of younger players and fans it attracts, but if we cannot provide a safe environment for them to enjoy that will not last.

In 2019 event security is a bare minimum

Sure, sport might be more expensive, and not as 'new', but no sports ground at the top level allows people to walk in without serious security measures, as you cannot fail to know if you've attended any in recent years. This is a necessity in the modern day, as sad as that may seem, and esports' rise to the mainstream has sadly made it more of a target for those same sick individuals who might seek to target a concert or public space, making it vital that TOs do their due diligence.

The fact that IBP has failed to address this issue individually probably speaks to its desire to see it go away, which is not good enough from a company that claims to want to grow CSGO anywhere. In 2019 event security is a bare minimum, and while the players made a lot of public noise about their playing conditions this is the one thing that cannot be forgiven or forgotten, regardless of context. With the context of last year’s tragedy included though, it is even worse.

Hopefully, IBP does decide to be more forthcoming about its failure here in coming weeks, but at present the situation seems to be one it is hoping will just go away on its own. If that is the case, we really hope teams reject future events and make it clear why, and the same goes for talent, who have been relatively quiet about this so far. Teething problems are one thing, but putting CSGO fans and players at risk is quite another, and IBP let down the entire esports community by doing so.

Twitter: Picture: Karieta / Twitter