After massive backfire over its pricing policy, Nürburgring eSports adjust its entry fees.
The umbrella organization for racing in Germany, DMSB, faced quite a massive backlash on social media for charging entry fees of several hundred euros for their first German championship (DSRC). The iRacing tournament is backed by the official German motorsports association and has commissioned Nürburgring eSports to organize the championship.
However, its first season had quite a rough start to say the least. On June 9, OverTake published an interview with one of the most notable critics, esports racer Danny Giusa. He called the organization out for charging as much as €375 for the entry in the tournament’s three stages as well as a mandatory DMSB license. In his opinion, the production level and prize pool didn’t justify the fee. He criticized the requirement of an expensive license issued by the DMSB as well.
OverTake reached out to Nürburgring eSports for their point of view. Both Sascha Mönig, Managing Director, and Sebastian Fiedelak, Operations & Sales Lead, who run the championship, responded and issued statements.
Fees for participation cut in half
Mönig acknowledges that the pricing was intially too high, while the transparency of the DSRC was not satisfactory. He followed the discussion on Twitter and understands the sentiments towards the lack of transparency. However, Mönig argues that some figures were wrong. “The costs for a DMSB sim racing license had been reduced from originally €49 at the beginning of 2020 to 28€. This wasn’t brought up in any discussion that I was aware of.”
Apart from that, Nürburgring eSports have reduced the overall costs for taking part in the championship. In a DSRC press release from Friday, June 26, the new pricing list was introduced. Hotlap qualifications, which are the first stage in the championship, are now for free. Before, this initial qualification alone was priced at €25. For the actual qualification races, participants previously had to pay a 50-euro fee, now this amount has been cut in half.
The most expensive part were the six championship races that costed as much as €250. The new pricing is at €100. Did the massive wave of critique trigger the reduction of entry fees?
Sebastian Fiedelak points to the support of new sponsors that made the decrease of fees possible: “With a few sponsors in prospect, we have decided to reduced any entry fee at once to react to the criticism.” Participants who already paid the fee had been reimbursed, the press release claims.
“Set new standards in terms of livestream quality”
Although the costs for paricipation have been drastically reduced, the competitors still have to invest up to around €150 if they want to go all the way. Where does all this money go though? Mönig envisions a tournament coverage on a whole new level:
I have initiated the production of a live stream from the NürburgringTV studio since the third test race. I want to set new standards in terms of livestream quality with our production. We are going to have a preliminary coverage before every race, hosted by Patrick Simon and Laura Luft. The studio at Nürburgring offers much potential to make the live stream more appealing.
Mönig estimates the costs for producing the show of one single event at the studio in the four-figure range. According to Fiedelak it is not about exploiting the scene for money but to do justice to sim racing in Germany and elevate this esport to the next level. Professionalization is key to achieve this, in his opinion.
Why do drivers need a license?
According to both Fiedelak and Mönig, the DMSB license is supposed to ensure fairplay. To the Managing Director the DMSB license guarantees honorable behavior of its participants, especially when they are not familiar with the unwritten laws in esports racing competitions. “At this point, the DMSB license comes into play,” explains Mönig, “to address exactly these drivers and make them familiar with the regulations and particularities of sim racing.”
Fiedelak adds: “Sim racing has become so complex in many aspects that beginners and even veterans are not aware of all particularities.” Only the cooperation with the DMSB could ensure that the German championship is going to be a perfectly fair competition, claims the Nürburgring eSports representative.
Yeah, it’s quite funny, when you think of…— DannyGiusa (@DannyGiusa) June 8, 2020
You need to have a #simracing license when you already raced in #iRacing World Champhionship 😀
Makes the same sense to send real racing drivers to the Nordschleife permit, when they already won the 24h.
While it is fair enough to demand a qualification from the participants, these statements on the license pre-requirement should be taken with a grain of salt. It is at least debatable whether a paid license is really necessary. After all, other tournaments make do without them as well or take the players’ iRating into account instead. Also, one could expect a sufficient knowledge of the codes of conduct from any racer who makes it past the hotlap qualification. Danny Giusa has raised this issue that undermines the achievements of already accomplished racers who are now supposed to get a license.
DSRC – The German championship
The hotlap qualification phase of the DSRC has started on June 15 and goes until July 9. The best 90 drivers will then advance to the qualification races, starting July 11 to determine the 60 championship racers. The six championship races take place between August 22 and October 24.
What is your take? Do you think that the production quality justifies the entry fees? Do you agree with the reasoning behind the DMSB sim racing license? Tell us on Twitter!