With over 15 years experience in the esports industry, Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz had done it all, seen it all and just about achieved it all.
Now the Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL, Michal has grown the Intel Extreme Masters to a level which has helped put esports on the map.
This year’s IEM Katowice attracted over 232 million viewers across the two-week event, making it the most watched ESL tournament series of all time. During the opening ceremony, Michal took some time to reflect on the sacrifices which come with wanting to be a champion. His continued efforts to understand and shape esports is exactly why he was chosen as the first member to be inducted into the ESI Hall of Fame in 2018.
With the Esports Insider Hall of Fame 2019 in partnership with WePlay! and GRID looming, we caught up with CARMAC to talk about his incredible career, being inducted in the Class of 2019, and what’s next for this veteran.
Esports Insider: What did being inducted into the ESI Hall of Fame in 2018 mean to you?
Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz: I thought of it as a token of being recognised for leaving something behind, that what I’ve done in esports has lasting value. I like to think I was involved in building something and it’s pleasant to see that someone agrees. My wife was proud of me. However, I am not done yet, and I know there is much more work ahead of us all in esports.
ESI: How Important is it that we recognise people that have helped shape the industry?
C: I think it has historical value and also helps people tell the difference between a genuine expert in the field and someone with a great personal sales pitch. It looks obvious today to say that this person or that person helped esports grow, but a decade from now esports will be larger and vastly different. Fans won’t be aware of the history. I’m quite sure the only way for our children to find out who really built the sport they follow is through initiatives like this.
ESI: You’ve achieved so much already in your career, what is left that you want to accomplish, and why?
C: I think there’s still room to build in esports overall and evolve. Are the ecosystems across all games done optimally? It’s plain to see that structures like the League of Legends leagues or the Overwatch League are easy to understand, but are they likely to produce enough great superstars for the future?
I am not sure that in those games there are enough full-time jobs for players outside of the professional league for that. It’s rather the opposite in open ecosystems with a number of tournaments. There’s a lot of value for a great number of players in a game like CSGO, but the story and structure of the ecosystem could be simpler and clearer for outsiders. I happen to be working closer to the open ecosystem section, and that’s where I could potentially help.
ESI Hall of Fame 2019 Partners