We sat down with MonteCristo to learn about his plans for Flashpoint and beyond.
“At the end of the day,” said Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, “Developers are good at one thing, and that’s developing games. It’s not creating broadcasts.”
It was precisely this mindset that informed Monte’s decision to join Flashpoint, the recently announced team-owned Counter-Strike league, as a caster and on-air talent. “I think [developers] should do what they’re good at—and let me be good at what I’m good at.”
Over the past decade, Monte has been a prominent caster for League of Legends and Overwatch, two of the most popular esports in the world. Though his experience in CS:GO is limited, the caster was very much in his element when he sat down for a chat with GGRecon, sipping on a glass of wine as he spoke confidently about his plans for Flashpoint.
In spite of this confidence, Monte was quick to admit that he still has much to learn about the Counter-Strike scene. “To be clear, I’m not telling Counter-Strike how to do things—I am talking with Counter-Strike experts to get better products here,” said the caster. “So really what I’m doing, as a whole part of being part of Flashpoint, is allowing other people to take the lead, and then applying my knowledge from other games that will help them provide the best information possible.”
For now, this means Monte’s role with Flashpoint, at least initially, will be that of a producer and host, not an analyst. But it’s only a matter of time until Monte starts putting on additional hats. “I don't think I can help myself from doing analysis.”
Never one to limit himself to one role or area of esports, Monte also dropped some insights about his ideal business strategy for Flashpoint. “Broadcasters...are taking a profit, and who is getting squeezed here is the teams.”
After apologies for burping into the microphone, Monte continued: “So I think the concept here is really that, if the teams can cut out as many middlemen as possible, including the middlemen that exist in terms of the production world, then we’re getting into a place where we might reach sustainability for the teams.” A team-owned league will also make it easier for teams to negotiate product tie-ins and sponsorship deals that not only encompass the league, but also impact each team on an individual level.
One potential revenue source for Flashpoint is the media rights for its competitive events. Though leagues like ESL have had some trouble selling media rights, Monte believes that the market is there. "I think they should ask themselves how Overwatch league was able to sell it for $45 million a year,” said Monte.
And while Monte agrees with Duncan “Thorin” Shields that pay-per-view content would be the optimal monetization plan for esports, he also made it very clear that Flashpoint will not be switching over to this model any time soon. “I wish we could move towards that, because I think it would turn a lot of stuff around.”
But as the audience of esports continues to age, Monte believes that Flashpoint’s decision to approach esports from the angle of organizations like the WWE and UFC is a strong one. “I think that the adult market for esports grows bigger and bigger every single year,” said Monte. “So as long as we keep doing this, the pool of people interested continues to grow.”
As for Monte’s plans outside of Counter-Strike, the veteran caster might be looking to conquer the Dota 2 scene next. “I’m trying to be the first guy to do a CS:GO Major, League world finals and an Overwatch League final,” said Monte. “And then if I can do The International, that’s like the e-god of esports casting.”
Main image via Twitter/@MonteCristo