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Interview with Nadine Jaberg

eSports project manager discusses the second season

“The new Hero League season promises even more excitement.”

The second season of the Swisscom Hero League gets underway in September. Nadine Jaberg, Swisscom’s eSports project manager, takes a look back at the first season and explains the changes that await players of the Swisscom Hero League in season 2.
Katia Reinhardt, Corporate Communications
23 July 2019

The Swisscom Hero League launched in November 2018 and the inaugural grand final was held in Zurich on 11 May. How would you sum up the first season?

We couldn't be happier. The atmosphere and enthusiasm of the spectators at the grand final in Zurich were a clear demonstration of the huge passion people have invested in the scene – and how much growth potential it has. We receive huge amounts of support and feedback from all sides. However, we also faced some criticism. This included criticism of our initial lack of shooter game and of the fact that the mobile game Clash Royale had a place in the league. However, as time has gone on, Clash Royale has proved its popularity, as can be seen by its ever-growing community of fans. With Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), we are now taking this on board and including a tactical shooter game in the league. Alongside our partner ESL, we are moving things forward at a rapid pace and discussing developments on a continual basis with the Community. We are keen to keep improving and promote eSports and gaming in Switzerland.

There has been a lot of movement in the games selection in the Swisscom Hero League: in February 2019, you added Fifa19 and Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment (OW) to the cups and OW will be disappearing again from the end of July. What’s more, Hearthstone will no longer feature in the Swisscom Hero League the season after next. Why are so many changes being made?

The gaming industry is incredibly dynamic and fast paced. What’s “in” today may well be “out” tomorrow. It’s not just all the new games popping up or disappearing again; the leagues and publishers are also experiencing different degrees of success. And don’t forget that the licences have to be renegotiated with the publishers on a regular basis too. As sponsors of the fledgling Swisscom Hero League, we need to engage with changes and trends on an almost daily basis, in terms of what the community wants and what we can and want to achieve. Therefore, in the course of the negotiations for OW and prompted by decreasing numbers of subscribers, we decided to remove OW from the Challenger Series, potentially creating space for a new game. After next season and the grand final in Bern, Hearthstone will also be leaving our league.

Why are you removing Hearthstone from the Swisscom Hero League?

This was no easy decision for us. However, with the addition of CS:GO and the same financial, human and technical resources as before, we had no option but to drop one of the existing games. In the end, we chose Hearthstone because we feel that the league covers a broad range of games with CS:GO, League of Legends (LoL) and Clash Royale, and because we wish to make room for the growing mobile gaming community as well. The SESL is incorporating Hearthstone into its league, meaning that players will continue to have a platform to demonstrate their skill in a Swiss league. These opportunities would not have been available to players of Clash Royale.

What happens next? When can we expect the qualification rounds and the launch of the second season?

Cups for all games (including Fifa19 and OW), as well as the qualification rounds for the 2nd division of LoL, Hearthstone and Clash Royale, will run until the end of July. The promotion and relegation playoffs for the 1st and 2nd divisions will then be held at the end of August. The qualification rounds for CS:GO will start at the end of July and continue until the end of August.

What are you looking forward to in the second Swisscom Hero League season? 

CS:GO is a very popular new addition to the eSports league. The response from the fan community has been extremely positive and we look set to have some exciting matches ahead. Now that we have an entire season of League of Legends, Hearthstone and Clash Royale behind us, favourites and rivalries have already been established, which promises to take the tension and emotions up a notch. Moreover, there will be a 2nd division, comprising the best players and teams from the cups, opening up the opportunity for promotion to the 1st division and guaranteeing even more thrilling encounters. On the stage in the grand final, we may even see players who were still playing in the cups in season 1 and are at the very start of their eSports career.

When will the next grand final take place?

At the HeroFest in Bern from 22 to 24 November. We would be absolutely delighted to welcome all e-gamers, gamers, Orga representatives, streamers, families and fans from across Switzerland to join in the excitement again. We’ll be there and we hope you will be too!

Swisscom Hero League Season 2 in brief

Games

League: League of Legends (LoL), Counter-Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO), Clash Royale, Hearthstone
Cups: LoL, CS:GO, Clash Royale, FIFA19

1st & 2nd division

Players and teams from the cups (LoL, Clash Royale) can qualify for the 2nd division.

24 August playoffs

2nd division

31 August relegation

The bottom two teams in the 1st division play against the top two teams in the 2nd division.

09 September season starts

1st and 2nd division LoL, CS:GO, Clash Royale, Hearthstone* including live streaming of the 1st division on Twitch.tv
* Hearthstone only 1st division group games, no live streaming, but grand final

CS:GO

From 15 July, registration for CS:GO qualification
20 July, qualification rounds begin for CS:GO for the 1st division of the Swisscom Hero League

Prize money

CS:GO 10,000.–
LoL 10,000.–
Clash Royale 3,000.–
Hearthstone 3,000.–

Swisscom Hero League Season 2 graphics

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Swisscom Hero League

In its first season, the Swiss eSports league for amateur and professional gamers attracted more than 3,000 gamers.