ELEAGUE: James Bardolph on the state of Counter-Strike

James Bardolph at the ELEAGUE CSGO Premier. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Turner Sports.
James Bardolph at the ELEAGUE CSGO Premier. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Turner Sports. /

ELEAGUE commentator James Bardolph speaks to FanSided about all things Counter-Strike, from North American struggles to the length of the pro schedule.

With Turner and IMG’s ELEAGUE coming back to TV, it’s time to again gather the finest minds in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to get their thoughts on the game, the competition and anything in between.

To kick off our series of Counter-Strike conversations, FanSided sat down with veteran ELEAGUE commentator, scuba enthusiast, and everyone’s favorite showmatch player, James Bardolph.

Here’s what Bardolph had to say about the North American professional scene after the shakeup of Cloud9, the current competitive schedule, and what it’s like for the commentators and analysts who are often as busy as the teams.

FanSided: When Cloud9 won the ELEAGUE Major Boston in January, everyone thought that North American Counter-Strike would turn the corner. That hasn’t happened, so how do you evaluate the North American scene less than a year later?

James Bardolph (JB): The end of the Cloud9 story is really annoying, because it’s a very abrupt end. It’s a nice way to end it, but it doesn’t feel like that should have been the way these changes should have been made. I think the identity of Cloud9, for the most part, has been ripped from the team for the time being.

Cloud9 has a big question mark; we don’t know what’s going to happen to that team in the future, because whatever they end up with in the long term isn’t going to be anything like what they had in the previous Major.

NRG have been looking very promising; of course they haven’t made it to the Major, but that is a short-term problem. Long-term they look very promising indeed. Liquid has never looked better. So I think North America is in a good spot.

FanSided: We’re seeing the overall competitive schedule become a point of discussion as both teams and talent deal with burnout. How do you feel about the Counter-Strike calendar?

JB: I think from a team perspective, they don’t have to play every single tournament. I think there needs to be more communication with the teams. Because from the management perspective, they want as much exposure for their sponsors as possible but you need to balance that with your team being able to practice and so on, as Astralis was saying. I don’t think it’s about the schedule per se; it’s about choosing what you want to go to.

FanSided: The talent workload is almost as heavy as the teams, because we see a lot of the same casters and analysts at many events. How is it for James Bardolph to work an event like the ELEAGUE Premier, which is eight days long, as opposed to a multi-weekend event?

JB: It’s always refreshing. I love being in Atlanta. All of the times we’ve come here, we’ve made a lot of friends. This feels like a family unit, working at ELEAGUE with all the people supporting us.

There’s no doubt that playing on LAN is fantastic. I think it’s one of the bigger differences. It is a short and sweet format [that’s different] than what we had previously. But at the same time, you still need to have drive to win this tournament, so I think it’s cool.

Next. Check out the upcoming ELEAGUE TV schedule. dark

ELEAGUE’s Esports 101: CSGO airs Aug. 24 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on TBS. For complete ELEAGUE coverage, follow the Gaming category at FanSided.