Ben Bagg cancels UKGT and quits esports for ‘a decade’ – that’s 1 less well-meaning idiot in the UK scene

Dom Sacco shares his opinion on the news that UK Gaming Tours has been cancelled.

Today UK Gaming Tours, the CSGO competition fraught with setbacks, delays and other problems, was cancelled.

Over the past few months the tournament became quite literally a joke, with memes popping up on social media, including a parody page titled 'UK Gaming Twits'.

The finals (originally set to take place in a shopping centre) never happened, and teams and players have been left out of pocket. The UKGT Twitter page said the event was 'now cancelled indefinitely' before deleting their page.

It saddens me to write this article. Ben Bagg is not a horrible person. But that doesn't detract from the fact that he's failed with UKGT.

Last year Richard Lewis told me that he believes the UK esports scene is full of two types of people: Well-meaning idiots and malicious scumbags.

Ben is one of the well-meaning idiots. Richard already attacked him for the way Ben and his former org Caz Esports handled a roster departure. The man has made a string of promises around UKGT, and had some good ideas, but failed to deliver them.

Now, after a period of radio silence, Ben has cancelled UKGT and explained the reasons behind this to GinxTV presenter Naysayerz (you can watch it here, after a few minutes from the start).

And I'm not buying any of his excuses.


Excuse no.1: The investors held onto the money

"With the money, we had investors who held onto the money, we didn't have it in the UK Gaming Tours bank account," Ben said. "They were in control of it.

"It kept on slowing down and I was struggling with the investors, because I guess they were losing faith with all the delays we were having."

If you have investors properly on board and bought into your idea from the get-go, it should never get to the point where they change their mind and leave you in the lurch.

  • Who are the investors?
  • Why wasn't the money in the UKGT bank account?
  • If they weren't properly on board, why did you go ahead with the tournament?
  • Did they pay any money? If so, how much?

There are so many unanswered questions here, questions that Ben has refused to go on the record with to Esports News UK. The excuse is not convincing.


Excuse no.2: Brands didn't back UKGT

"Our business plan was to do this in shopping centres, which relied heavily on having lots of exhibitors," Ben explained.

"There's a little rule in marketing that you don't really get involved with somebody's first event - and that sort of backfired on us.

"So we were looking at changing our venue to cut costs and make it a bit better for the players, not being in a shopping centre."

Sorry, I'm not buying this one bit.

Don't announce and go ahead with the tournament (and rope orgs in) if you don't have the backing you require.

During my ten years as a trade journalist, I have seen several first-time events succeed, with the backing of some big-name exhibitors, sponsors and brands. It might be difficult, but it's not impossible. If you make the event attractive enough, brands will back it.

I've seen respectable brands back some questionable UK esports orgs in the past, if they can do it, I'm sure you can too.


Excuse no.3: I couldn't afford it - I should have got a bigger team

Ben spoke to Naysayerz on Ginx TV earlier today

Ben said: "I think it'd have been okay if I quit my full-time job, but I've got bills to pay so I wasn't able to do that. It was way too much for me to handle, I should've brought more people on from the beginning."

Then why did you announce it?

I agree with Ben that he should have brought more people on from the beginning.

But if he couldn't afford to, then UKGT should never have been a thing in the first place.

It was an ambitious project and I admire the idea behind it. But this means nothing if you fail to deliver. Finals in shopping centres - that was never going to be a cheap and easy little tournament.

It's sadly been a case of over-promising and under-delivering. In a way you could say Ben is a shit UK esports version of Peter Molyneux. Peter is also well-meaning, but he's also at times a huge let down and promises things that never materialize.


Ben's final words: 'It's just been an utter failure'

I'll end the article with words straight from the horse's mouth.

"I'm not happy about it at all," Ben added. "As much as I've got a bad name, I've always wanted to help the scene and do everything I can. And it's just been an utter failure. I'm feeling pretty shit about it really.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to do anything in esports again, at least probably not for a decade.

"I still love esports, I guess I'll be a fan rather than get involved. I'll let people who are better organised and able to do it than I am."

So long Ben. I wish I could say otherwise, but you won't be missed from UK esports.

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