New Structure for Grand Prix Coverage

Posted in Organized Play on January 18, 2018

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Perhaps you know me as the Pro Tour news desk anchor and content producer, but I'm also working behind the scenes as global coverage manager for CFB Events. Together with our partners at Wizards of the Coast, as we embark on a new era for Grand Prix coverage in 2018, we're committed to more—more events, more matches, more formats, more games each and every round, more features, more graphics, more interviews, more commentators, more cameras, more fun, more deck techs, more analysis, more three-piece suits, more . . . well, everything.

No pressure, then.

In 2018, we're looking to bring you close to 4,000 games of Magic on twitch.tv/magic. Yep, that's four thousand. And that's a lot, especially when it comes around in 10-to-12-hour chunks! So, in 2018 we're trying something new. Think of the Magic channel on Twitch as a TV network. Each coverage weekend, we'll bring you six distinct shows from the Grand Prix, live. Think of each show as a mixture of cake (the matchplay and analysis) and icing (features, fun, interviews, and so on). Without the icing, cake can get pretty bland. Without the cake, icing gets you sick real fast.

So, nothing about our main offering—multiple feature matches from every round—is going anywhere. Indeed, we've got a bunch of new recipes to make our core ingredient the best ever. But we are going to try a few new quirky flavors to surprise and delight your Magic taste buds! Here's a typical weekend rundown, which you saw in its very early stages at Grand Prix Santa Clara a couple weeks ago:

Saturday

Show 1 – MTG Launch: Rounds 1–2
Show 2 – The Pro Show: Rounds 3–6
Show 3 – The Cut: Rounds 7–8

Sunday

Show 4 – Good Morning Magic: Rounds 9–10
Show 5 – MTG Red Zone: Rounds 11–15
Show 6 – Sunday Night Magic: The Top 8

So what's the plan for each show?

  • MTG Launch will take the time to really set the scene, with an extensive pregame show actively aimed at newer viewers, players who haven't spent 70 hours on Magic Online that week, and people who can't necessarily name every pro team from memory! We'll walk through the top decks in the format, and explain key interactions and themes you'll see during the weekend. MTG Launch is a fun, high-energy, high-information start to the GP weekend, and it's a great place to send your friends who are new to Magic coverage.
  • The Pro Show is just what it sounds like! We feature the best players in the room as they begin their tournament campaigns across Rounds 3–6. We'll bring you closer to your favorite pros than ever before, with lots of special features and a commitment to bringing you the best matches available each and every round. Learn to play like the pros, with the pros.
  • The Cut closes out Day One, and it's all about getting back for Day Two! Six wins is the minimum requirement, so expect to see "win-and-in" matches at 5-1 in Round 7 and "elimination" matches at 5-2 in Round 8. The tournament itself becomes our primary focus, with additional reporting from matches around the top tables to bring you news of your favorite players.
  • Good Morning Magic opens Sunday with our spin on a network news/lifestyle show. The emphasis is a combination of top-table coverage and a showcase for the most interesting new decks that emerge from Day One. We'll also look at decks that might not go on to win the whole event, but are great to watch and great to play.
  • MTG Red Zone is where things get serious. The pace quickens, and every round you'll get the most important matchups. With Top 8 on the line, or elimination just one slip away, we can sum up this show in three words: Matches. That. Matter.
  • Sunday Night Magic is our flagship show. You'll get live coverage of the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship match, but we'll also bring you a comprehensive guide to the whole weekend—in case you don't have time to watch all 100-plus games with us! So, for your metagame updates and pro news, plus the biggest matches of the weekend, Sunday Night Magic is your appointment-to-view.

Now, let's be real—this is an ambitious package. We've assembled some fantastic talent both in front of and behind the cameras, and we are all utterly committed to delivering an outstanding, vibrant, and fresh product. Remember, though, this is live TV, and mistakes are bound to happen. But you can be sure that we will look to improve our Grand Prix offerings each and every week, as we learn and grow from our experiences of running these new "network shows."

We're live from dozens of great cities around the world in 2018, and we can't wait to share our passion for the best game in the world with you. From MTG Launch on Saturday morning to Sunday Night Magic, we've got you covered. Come join us!


Have feedback on Grand Prix coverage? Seen something you want more of? Want to highlight a favorite feature, offer something new, or give some constructive criticism? Reach me at @MTGRich on Twitter or send me an email at rich@cfbevents.com. I can't promise to reply, but I can promise to read, digest, and consider!

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