Canada is often considered a welcoming country by the global community, and it very well is if you plan ahead of time. Gaining a visa to visit the country is easy, coming to Canada to compete in an esports event is hard.
There are plenty of factors that prevent events from occurring in Canada, but the most discouraging are big and noteworthy tournament organizers having success south of the border.
Professional Counter Strike events in Canada have been pitiful. Northern Arena hosted two events that attracted only a handful of notable teams and some local cannon fodder, and ESWC Montreal was a complete disaster with technical issues ruining the event. Neither of these events had the best teams, nor a big stage and local hype.
The biggest event that took place was last year’s Dreamhack Open Montreal, the same event where Immortals had to forfeit map one of the Grand Finals and the complete debacle of the same lineup. With exception of Dreamhack, all the organizers who have hosted these tournaments were at fault for the poor quality.
These tournaments have not been enjoyable to watch, and the problem will always be to convince big companies like ESL or ELEAGUE to host events in an underdeveloped region that has proven not to have much success, especially when most of the fans mostly have no issue going down to the United States.
The visa process in Canada is more lengthy in time than the American counterparts. Your application can be declined if you have a minor criminal offense (which is an instant rejection unless you are an exception), any typos, or the reviewer of your application can decline and make you restart the process. While in the United States, a minor criminal offense will not instantly deny your application. Exceptions are common with higher profile individuals like hockey players or celebrities. Professional Counter Strike players are not nearly as high profile or known to the general public enough to qualify for an exception.
There are simply better options for top tier events whether they lie in the United States or in Europe, because Canada hasn’t shown enthusiasm to esports the same way as American cities. In no way am I saying it is impossible nor am I suggesting that organizers should not, but expectations with the Boston Major and the visa issues cannot be solved just by going to Canada.
It is understandable that the Counter Strike community would want to see competitions taking place in new places; it is not something you pick out of a hat and put a big tournament there. There are many things you have to worry about and this article touched on a few factors, and there is plenty more to address to hold a successful tournament. Canada is not the golden land of Counter Strike.
Do you believe Canada will see a premier esport event in 2018? Comment below!