Dallas (TX) – Professional gamers have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money at gaming tournaments around the world. But at least for now, the organizer of one major event is calling it quits. The Cyberathlete Professional League has cancelled its 2006 World Tour. However, Angel Munoz, founder and president of CPL, told TG Daily that he plans to rebuild a new and different event to replace it.
The 2005 World Tour was perhaps one of the biggest professional gaming events ever organized, giving away more than $1 million in prizes, and spanning 12 cities around the globe, including New York City where the finals were held. Millions of spectators reportedly watched the event on TV, Munoz told us, along with 110,000 additional viewers of MTV’s Overdrive streaming video channel. “We accomplished 90% of what we wanted to do, and we felt it was ‘mission accomplished,'” said Munoz, curiously.
It’s the 10% that apparently did the tour in, as the stresses of organizing each international venue evidently proved to be too much for Munoz’ staff. “In Istanbul, our first stop,” he said, “we dealt with the worst possible snow storm ever, and had issues with their power standards…Our internal resources were stretched too thin; my staff was so tired and beat up. So I’m canceling this year’s event.”
The CPL itself will survive and continue to sponsor events around the world, Munoz promised. The key to the CPL’s future appears to be outsourcing. Instead of directly organizing events, the League will become more of a sanctioning body, licensing rights to other companies to do the dirty work. To that end, the League announced today the appointment of AMD as lead title sponsor for the league, joining BenQ. “We will license the brand worldwide, so the events can still be under the CPL flag,” said Munoz. For example, the upcoming CPL Summer Event will be licensed to Games Media Properties, which will handle organization, details, and press.
Despite fears that developed among the game sporting community, Munoz advised, “Professional gaming is definitely not going away…The industry has become a lot bigger than the CPL, and there are so many options for pro gamers these days. I can’t even remember all the acronyms for all the events out there,” says Munoz.
Professional gamers tend to earn between $2,000 and $18,000 by winning matches in a major tournament like last year’s CPL World Tour. For an entire tournament season, these professionals can net a few hundred thousand dollars. Hotel and travel costs for participants are generally compensated. However, just like in professional sports, very few gamers have the skill to play at the skill level required to earn an income from this profession. Only a few of these elite, furthermore, have the star power to reap the real rewards from corporate sponsorships and advertising deals.
Munoz claims CPL does not have a shortage of sponsors, stating the League will soon announce details of a major agreement with an unnamed television network. The CPL plans to announce another event in the summer to replace the World Tour. “It will also have different events around the world, with the finals in the US. It won’t be as big, but it will be a lot more manageable,” promised Munoz.