The first International Championships of the 2019 season is just over a month away, with Latin America being the first region to host. Recently, players have been voicing their concerns about the current number of players registered, which is astonishingly low. Granted, players still have over a month before the event, but there still remains uncertainty for how many players have actually confirmed that they intend to make the trip to São Paulo.
Where it stands now
According to players who have recently registered, the VGC event attendance is at 18% of total capacity. The 2018 Latin American International Championships created controversy due to the low attendance cap which was around 250 players. If a similar cap remains for this year, that means only about 45 players are registered. Considering the issues surrounding the player cap last season, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume the cap would be increased this year to address these concerns. If that is the case, we’re still looking at an International event being less than half of the most recent regional championships in Memphis.
What could be the cause of this?
As of now, any suspected causes are merely speculative. Some have argued about the entry fee for the event, which is no surprise to anyone in the Pokemon VGC scene. The entry fee for the Latin American Internationals stands at 150 reais (or around $40 in terms of U.S. currency). That may sound cheap to players in the states, but this amount is a rather hefty cost according to Latin American player Andre Fumis.
Not if you take into account Purchase Power Parity. 150 reais here will buy you the same amount of stuff as 64 dollars in the US. However, the US minimum wage is approximately 1276$/month (using the 7.25/hr rate), while ours is 954 R$/month
— André Fumis (@FumitoVGC) October 15, 2018
Another point that has been brought up is the size of the Latin American VGC community. Latin America has recently struggled with event attendance, which does not bode well for representation at their home International. This is a shame considering the region’s pride should be at an all time high coming off of Paul Ruiz’s win at the 2018 World Championships, and the sheer number of events Latin America has throughout the season. Despite this, it seems that attendance still remains low.
we’ve had 3 player pc, 6 player mss and 8 player special lol nothing new oo
— Sogeking (@Sogeking8000) October 15, 2018
In a similar vein to entry fees, travelling to Brazil has not proven an easy financial toll as well. According to Fumis, flight costs are much higher than in Europe and North America, and those looking to take a bus to São Paulo could be looking at least an eight hour trip. On the other side, Jamie Boyt (a well-known player from the UK) claims a flight to Brazil would cost roughly £400 (or ~$526). Travelling to events that are farther away usually means a heftier financial investment, but this one may prove too much for players without travel awards.
So, as it looks right now, attendance for the season’s first International Championships might not meet expectations. It’s rare for a regional-level event to have less than 80 people (depending on the region), but an International not to break 100 players would be devastating. What’s good news is that this number will certainly go up as we get closer to the event; but the final registration numbers aren’t promising much.
Brazilian player Gabriel Agati is attempting to raise awareness on Twitter in order to gain some more insight on the situation, and any help in sharing his tweet would be beneficial for the community as a whole.
[Please RT! I want this to reach everyone who will play LAIC!]
Please, LIKE this tweet IF YOU ARE ALREADY REGISTERED or 100% SURE YOU GONNA PLAY the VGC Latin American International Championship.
DO NOT like if you are NOT going to play but don’t forget to RT!
— Gabriel Agati (@AgatiGa) October 13, 2018
Images from Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ken Sugimori and The Pokemon Company International