Just days after Zain “Zain” Naghmi won Genesis and just days before the prestigious Smash Summit 9 invitational tournament, Zain is a free agent no more.
League of Legends esports organization, Golden Guardians, entered into the Super Smash Bros. Melee scene earlier last week with the pick up of the best Marth main in the world. However, the timing wasn’t a coincidence.
All Eyes on Smash Summit
In years past, Smash Summit has become a very popular tournament for esports organizations and sponsors. The 16 person invitational runs four days long in which those players compete against each other in a multitude of events with the most important of course being the singles competition. But perhaps even more important than the competition itself, organizations and sponsors are able to advertise their business here more so than any other tournament in the world.
With the event being streamed for more than 12 hours each day on Twitch, those 16 players are thrust into the spotlight and are almost always on camera. There is no better advertisement in esports than having a player wear a team’s jersey. Also unlike most other tournaments where a player might only be on stream one time for 20 minutes, players at Smash Summit are on stream multiple times each day.
Viewership at Smash Summit also rivals even the biggest of tournaments. According to Esports Charts, a website that tracks viewership for esports events, the seventh iteration of Smash Summit had a peak viewership of 59,671 viewers. A month before that, The Big House 8, which is one of the biggest Melee tournaments of the year, peaked at 62,077 viewers. For sponsors and organizations, Smash Summit provides the prestige of a major Melee tournament while also letting their sponsored player shine a lot more.
Summit and Esports Teams make a perfect match
With all eyes on the upcoming ninth installment of the Smash Summit series, teams and sponsors have historically made player decisions around the prestigious invitational. In fact, this won’t be the first Smash Summit that Zain made his team debut with.
Many people look back to Smash Summit 6 as Zain’s big breakout performance where he placed third despite being only a voted in player. What many people don’t remember was that Smash Summit 6 was the premier tournament where Zain made his Panda Global debut.
Zain also wasn’t the only player making a team debut at Smash Summit 6. Avery “Ginger” Wilson Qualified for Smash Summit 6 as a voted in player. Before the event, Ginger didn’t have a sponsor but on the day of the event, Ginger was picked up by the organization known as Balance Gaming.
Its about time our #Melee roster balanced out a bit.
The Balance Gaming team would like to welcome @SsbmGinger to our esports family!
— Balance Gaming (@EsportsBalance) May 4, 2018
History is repeating for Zain this year too. Zain is also not the only player at Smash Summit 9 making a team debut as well. A player known as “Bobby Big Ballz” qualified for Smash Summit through the infamous voted-in process. Like many other players going through the process, he was not sponsored when he qualified. Around the same time, Zain picked up his new sponsor, Even Matchup Gaming, decided to pick up BBB.
— EMG // #GetEven (@EvenMatchup) February 7, 2020
Only time will tell if Zain’s run with Golden Guardians will be as good as his Panda Global one. Many considered Zain’s run with Panda Global to be very successful. With first-place finishes at Shine 2018 and Full Bloom 5, the Zain pick up looked good. Which is why when PG decided to let Zain go in August of 2019, it was met with backlash.
Fans of both Zain and PG on social media made comments about how letting Zain go was a big mistake. PG may be having second thoughts but it is too late now.
Golden Guardians couldn’t have asked for a better tournament to show off their new Smash Bros. Melee player. Heading into Smash Summit 9 Zain is a favorite to win the event. However this time, he won’t be representing PG. Instead, he will be representing GG.
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