Between the upcoming 25th Anniversary Pro Tour, the inaugural season of the Pro Tour Team Series, and a slew of team limited and constructed Grand Prix events, 2018 truly is the year for team competitions. If you’re a fan, then this was a good weekend for you as two GP events, one in Madrid and one in Santiago, unfurled highlighting both team limited and team trios constructed.

Unfortunately of course only one of these events featured full video coverage, something I consider to be a fairly large gap in Wizards programming considering the progress that’s been made in tournament coverage over the past few years and especially considering the recent partnerships Wizards of the Coast has with Twitch to broadcast events and Channel Fireball Events to produce the coverage.

One imagines that there are a few things that could be factors into why there’s only coverage of one event on weekends that have multiple events. Not enough hardware? Not enough talent to put in the booth? Not enough production staff to bring the event to an audience? Not enough money to do all of the above?

But more importantly, what makes for a better viewing experience: One completely uninterrupted tournament covered from start to finish, or multiple tournaments covered in a single weekend with the video coverage going from one event to the other and the newsdesk analyzing multiple events? Currently we get the former but I think the latter would create a more engaging viewer experience.

The World Champion Narrative

The story of a player’s journey from round one (byes or otherwise) through the final round of a Grand Prix and taking home the coveted title of Grand Prix champion is surely a compelling one but not nearly as riveting as the journey from Grand Prix or PPTQ through the arduous grind of the Pro Tour and onto the World Championship.

When you watch coverage of any competition the narrative should always be bringing you to the ultimate prize which in the case of Magic is the title of World Champion. Sure, there are amazing accolades to be won along the way including Player and Rookie of the Year, Pro Tour titles, Grand Prix titles, Standard and Draft Master titles, and the entirety of the World Cup.

From the moment information about the fall set begins to trickle down until the moment a champion is crowned, everything should be about figuring out who will be the next World Champion. And then when a new champion is crowned, we start all over again.

There are 52 weeks in a year. 40 of them have a Grand Prix event taking place. Improving Grand Prix coverage as part of the Pro Tour narrative is critical to the long-term success of tournament coverage. We, as Magic fans, spend 75% of our weekends watching Grand Prix coverage. Wizards of the Coast, Twitch, and Channel Fireball Events need to get it right.

Every Grand Prix that isn’t featured on-camera is a lost opportunity to highlight the quest of the next World Champion. The job of the broadcast team is not to just focus on single rounds of Magic or even drafts but to bridge the story from one round to the next. Why is this game important? Why is this match important? Why is this player important? Why is this event important? The viewers rely on the broadcast team not just for the mechanics of why Death’s Shadow is a popular card but also the context of how the game they’re watching fits into the larger narrative of crowning a world champion in September.

The Pro Tour Team Series Narrative

The Pro Tour Team Series rocks. Team competition rocks. The more coverage that teams get the better off we’re all going to be. What does this have to do with covering multiple events in one weekend? Some teams, especially the international ones obviously, will have players in both events. Covering every single event means exposure for every single team.

There are currently 50-ish teams in the Pro Tour competition but to be completely honest there’s no reason we shouldn’t be moving in a direction of every single decent Magic player being part of an organized and sponsored team. Not every team will be competing for the Pro Tour Team Series title but we should be encouraging teams to form at every level of the game and give them appropriate coverage.

Why? Sponsors.

It’s possible that the problem with improving tournament coverage comes down to financing, though even if it doesn’t it couldn’t hurt to have more money. Sponsors want to reach the Magic community and team sponsorships are a great way to do it, at every level of the game.

Look at that exposure for the sponsors of these players. Hareruya, Cardhoarder, and Channel Fireball are all major players in the world of Magic and getting featured on coverage is always a big boost for business. But there’s no coverage of Grand Prix Santiago so these players, including 2002 World Champion Carlos Ramao and Pro Tour Hall of Fame Member Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, both of whom could easily be on the path to the 2018 World Championship, are left out of the spotlight.

If I were one of those sponsoring companies I would be demanding to know why Grand Prix Santiago wasn’t featured on Twitch. I would be furious about it, and I would want to know what we have to do to reach thousands more Magic fans every weekend. How could I not be?

What Would You Like to See?

Are you happy with the singular event coverage we now get when there are multiple Grand Prix tournaments on a weekend? Or, would you prefer to see every Grand Prix get some form of coverage on Twitch? How would you structure that coverage, especially during overlapping rounds? Send your comments on Facebook and Twitter and I look forward to continuing the discussion of improving Grand Prix coverage.

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

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