A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about the Unrivaled Tournament Series – my first blog on the young site that is Unorganized Play – to which I had zero expectations in terms of reaction. If you would have told me one person would read it, I would have been happy… well, it wasn’t just one person who read it, but one company in particular:
Thank you for the article on your website. I would love an opportunity to discuss it as well as our tournament with you.
Jerod Morgan, Unrivaled
In the blink of a few seconds, my internal thoughts went first to, “We have a Contact Us page on the website?”, then “Oh my god, that’s so cool that Unrivaled actually saw my article!”, to finally “Oh shit… am I about to get a black bag over my head and water-boarded?”. I quickly shared the news with the rest of the Unorganized Play team and the first response, which came from Drew, framed it for me: “Goodbye, Chubbs”.
Luckily (or sadly for some of you), I’m not writing this article from a black site within which Unrivaled has imprisoned me. I’m writing it from my living room, the very same spot I had a cordial and informative phone call with one of the people behind one of the biggest gaming events of the year.
The social media team at Unrivaled had come across my article and noticed that I had listed some specific details that weren’t accurate; they were reaching not to censor me, but to give me any information I wanted straight from them to make sure everyone was getting the correct details about Unrivaled. The biggest error was that I had said winners of the Regional tournaments would receive $1,000, which they do not… but they do receive flight, room and board to Las Vegas, which could probably retail at $1,000, and is most certainly worth playing for… Good thing I’m not an actual journalist. #FakeNews
I first emailed back and forth with Unrivaled’s Marketing Coordinator, Anthony Villegas, to discuss where I had gotten my info and which facts needed correcting. Once that was done, he offered to answer any questions or provide any information I may need about Unrivaled. I sent a bunch follow up questions, to which Jerod said he started writing out a reply but got two pages in to the first question, so it would be much easier to talk over the phone.
The next day, we spoke for a half hour about everything Unrivaled – who they were, who they are, and what they’re hoping to become. The concept for Unrivaled has been in development for over 2 years by Oomba Inc., a tech and social media company who have their own tournament software that is utilized with all Unrivaled events. While the goal of Unrivaled is to bring more exposure to table top gaming, Oomba will benefit from Unrivaled by registering thousands of users for their site (completely free). In that respect, Unrivaled has already been successful, but that will not make them rest on their laurels.
To date, just under 300 stores across the country have bought in to Unrivaled. In my original article, I spoke about how many stores that are hosting these events are not pushing and promoting as much as a quarter-million prize pool should garner. Jerod put it into perspective for me by saying that their involvement is also a risk for retailers as well. Unrivaled is a very new name that doesn’t have huge brand recognition at this current point. While what they’re offering is awesome, many stores don’t know for sure if Unrivaled is going to deliver everything they promised… mainly because they haven’t seen what the final product will look like… or in this case, the “Grand Final” product. From everything Jerod said, the Grand Final itself will be a spectacle that is just as the name suggests: Grand. From arena-style gaming stages to live coverage with special guest hosts and commentary, more news is still to come.
We spoke further about the perception of Unrivaled in the gaming community – “People either love us or they hate us.” But if this story tells you one thing about Unrivaled, it is that they are not shy and have the ambition to break into this industry. They have encountered their fair share of criticism and negatively since embarking on this venture, but Jerod made it very clear that anyone who has a question or problem with what Unrivaled is doing should not be shy to contact him directly – “That’s my job!”
I half-jokingly/half-seriously asked Jerod if my original blog fit into that criticism category, but he said I was very fair… a little snarky, but fair – I’ll take it, as I cannot deny my snark! I was excited to see how this Unrivaled thing unfolded before writing my blog, but now I feel invested having directly spoken with the man behind the plan.
To anyone curious about Unrivaled or concerned with where they’re at, I encourage you to reach out to them directly via their website. Better yet, you only need to write a social media post or blog about your opinions using #Unrivaled2017 (trust me on that one…). I would also encourage you to give Unrivaled at least this first year to win you over. If they deliver on half the things I spoke with them about, I truly believe they will be a name in the tabletop gaming industry for years to come!