VPEsports had the chance to chat with Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat about his role with B Site, what the league is shaping up to look like, competition with ESL/BLAST, and the goals of the league in the future.
Semmler went into detail about his decision to take on a new “challenge” in his role with the not yet officially named “B Site” league. In terms of what that entails, Semmler will not only be a member of the broadcast talent, but also the spokesperson for the organization.
“I’m speaking for myself, but I’m also having to represent a company at the same time. So I’m not just representing myself as I did in the past or when I was working with Overwatch League where we had very few opportunities to speak to the press when we were working there,” he explained. “Here, it’s another opportunity for me to learn a new set of skills. To figure out how to once again keep pushing that experience that I’ve been building for the past two years in Overwatch League; learning how to function in a corporate structure, learning how to function as a part of a bigger team, not just being a freelance commentator all on my own, but actually working as a unit with others. This is just a continuation of that.”
He explained that part of his decision was based on his desires going into 2020. “I wanted to cast, but I also wanted to start having some more challenges on the table and representing B Site in this capacity is one of those.”
When asked about what drew him to the league even though it competed schedule-wise with ESL Pro League, Semmler explained that he wanted to avoid going back to doing the same old thing and “working with ESL would have been that.”
“The gents working B Site reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in getting on board with them and when they outlined what they had in mind and the resources that they had at their disposal, the people that were on the team, it all just kept sounding better and better to me,” he said.
He also says BLAST is doing taking an approach similar to theirs in that they’re seeking to shake things up. In reference to BLAST, he says they’re “trying to shift things around to see if they can find that model that will work.”
“ESL to me is still the same thing. So when looking at the three, I decided to work with B Site and BLAST because they had a new approach, because there was something interesting,” Semmler explained.
When asked about the top-level talent list B Site has put together and how that came to be he put it quite simply; “they asked and we all like working together.”
“When I got spoken to the first time, it was Monte and Thorin who were onboard. Well I love working with Monte and I love working with Thorin so I was already sold then,” he said. “Then we kept going from there and really it was just about talking about what we had in mind for the league and where we wanted to take it, what the opportunities would be.”
In terms of the direction the project is trying to go, Semmler explained it’s not just about the format or level of competition, but rather the content that can be built around it. “The tournament, that’s the sort of thing everyone’s got down pat. What we want to try to do is provide resources to actually create content and try and create a different vision for the broadcast itself, something that we haven’t really tried yet.”
“That’s pretty much what got everyone on board,” he said. “The creative freedom that we’re going to have with B Site and where we’re going to be able to take it.”
In regards to what teams will end up where and whether or not that’s something B Site is worried about, Semmler said “no matter which teams we get, we’re going to be able to create some compelling stories.”
“Nothing stops us from talking about the EPL league as well,” he said. “So whichever teams decide to go where is kind of moot. It’s not going to change what it is that we’re about and what we’re going to try to execute on our side.”
He, of course, expressed that any league does in fact want to have the top five best teams in the world, “yeah, that’d be fantastic. If it doesn’t swing that way though, it doesn’t mean we’re gonna get down on ourselves.”
While Thorin has publicly stated he won’t be working with ESL until they name and remove those behind the recent format changes, Semmler hasn’t quite made his decision. “I’m not as deep into that as Duncan is, and I haven’t made my position public on that either,” Semmler stated. “I don’t tend to close doors, but I have to get around to actually addressing that.”
Without being able to give away much information, he explained that B Site will be using a “very different format.” He continued to say that “it’s something that hasn’t been seen yet in CS and it’s going to be fun.”
For those wondering about exactly what the format, name, and other details will be, Semmler states that information is coming very soon with a press event in the works.
In terms of the publicity this “competition” between the leagues is getting, Semmler had a simple phrase to say; “it’s not cooperation that breeds improvement, it’s competition.”
Semmler also goes right out to say that the quest all tournament organizers are on right now is “the quest to make esports profitable.” He continues by saying “we’ve trained an audience to expect everything for free for the last 10 years or a good portion of that, and so everyone keeps getting top-notch entertainment for free and at some point, you gotta realize it costs a lot to put on these events and pay these players. So everybody is trying to figure out how to make this a business.”
He also believes that some of these teams being in separate leagues could build a lot of excitement around matches at LANs where they finally meet.”We could wind up where we don’t see teams compete in the league format for months at a time and then maybe they run into each other at a LAN and it’s really exciting because we haven’t seen them play against each other in months,” he said. “Certain events are going to stand out because of that.”