Well, here you go, a full rundown on my experience covering the PGL CS:GO Major for Rush B Media. An incredible experience, despite the circumstances and the issues (which Richard Lewis and Thorin covered quite extensively here), it has been incredible to see CS:GO return to the major stage, and better yet to see S1mple finally get his major.
I went to Stockholm to cover the major as a photographer for Rush B Media paired up with writer Dafydd Gwynn. You can see his interviews from the event here, and my favorite pictures from the major here.
The first experience that I’ll note when arriving at the Avicii Arena was that it definitely was apparent that PGL had only arrived at the stadium with very limited lead time. There was one entrance sign visible, and there was a near complete lack of signage that was event specific around the venue. The number of booths was also sad in comparison to those I had seen at my last major CS:GO event at IEM Chicago 2019. The PGL CS:GO Major suffered from many problems relating to this late arrival at the venue, but the signage and general fan experience was only really one of many issues.
The experience even getting the press pass to attend the event was an ordeal, with us not hearing back from PGL until 2 weeks before the event. Which you might think might be a good amount of time, but considering it was announced that that event was going to be run by PGL almost a full year ago, it becomes significantly less excusable. The other issue surrounding press passes was their complete lack of access that we had. The pass didn’t even give you access on the final two days, and we had to get wristbands in order to gain floor access (which they would only give you if you were physically holding a camera).
The first two days of the event in the Avicii Arena went fairly smooth, however, our floor access was restricted even further on the final two days with the wristbands first, but next by a crowd barrier, that we weren’t allowed on the other side of. This left an impression with me that this was quite dangerous as the crowd the past two days had been pushing forwards and now this meant that we were trying to maneuver with $2000+ lenses and cameras while trying not to be squished against the barrier.
A pickier point of contention for the event from the press perspective was the barren wasteland that was the press room. With an offering of some tables with power drops, a live feed, and a snack bar which featured some fruit, muffins, and soft drinks it overall wasn’t very bad, but it also wasn’t good.