Red Bull Training Grounds, Santa Monica 2013

My day at Red Bull HQ in Southern California watching some of the world's best Starcraft players compete.

So I received a VIP invite from Rob Simpson and Sean Plott to attend the “Open House” final day of the Red Bull Training Grounds event. For the third time red bull opened the doors of their SoCal headquarters to the Day[9]tv squad to host a starcraft event. Two Red Bull sponsored startale Korean players joined two Europeans and four NA players for a three day production. Training grounds allowed these players a lot more than just the opportunity to play in an invite-only tournament. These eight players were being put up for an entire week in Los Angeles and given the opportunity and tools to practice in preparation for MLG Anaheim next weekend. You can find the liquipedia recap of the event [here].

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[If you are just interested in seeing my album from the event you can click on this big ‘ol link.] 

This was my first time visiting a production at the Red Bull HQ. I have only ever seen pictures from their previous events, even though I live rather close to Santa Monica. I arrived at about 1pm and the show was scheduled to start at 2. When I got onto campus I was greeted by some nifty cubicles and a massive wooden ramp spanning the length of the warehouse. The party was going on towards the back of the complex. Security escorted me through the cubicles and to the set. Everyone was just hanging out and I learned that the show was going to be delayed until Homestory cup was over for the day. The interwebs gave them a lot of love for this decision, and I agree. At the end of the day it was far and away the best business decision they could make.

Behind the set I found out that most people were actually gathered in a theater room. Here the other VIPs were hanging out and watching the conclusion of HSC. We all had catered food from a local taco joint, enjoyed the open bar in the corner, and had access to limitless amounts of Red Bull.


After Taeja won, everyone gathered around the desk outside to Skype Germany and say “HI!” to HSC. It was a maniacal cross-promotion between the two events; but I think there was a noticeable difference in viewers from the lead in from HSC.

The production was getting ready to go live and I was hanging out on the set instead of watching the action in the theater. Here is a little better of an idea for what the setup was for the cameras:


I climbed up the rather steep wooden ramp structure and snagged a picture of the entire setup. It’s one of my favorites from the day. I had a lot of fun sliding down the ramp like a little kid.

Demu and Sound was the first semi-final of the day. Ben did a great job of making sure that his Monster bottle was in every shot Red Bull wanted to take. His games were not executed as well as his bottle placement and dropped the series to the Korean. Instead of watching the games I played a resounding game of table shuffleboard with one of the other cameramen.



The players who were not enjoying the open bar were sitting on the set playing and watching some Starcraft. Everyone had their designated station and computer for whatever they wanted to do. Grubby, who was out of the tournament on day 3, was the most disciplined practicing for MLG next week.




Day[9] casted the entire show with help from Husky and Mr Bitter. Bitter had more of a host / analysis desk role but he did cast the ZvZ.



Sometimes silly things go on with casters when the camera is in game. With that being said I fucking love Ben.



It wasn’t a super long day of Starcraft, but it was flying by. I spent a lot of time just chatting with random people and old friends. The second match was between Kane and Golden. Found out that Kane was not just a super gosu NA player, but a fun guy who is always smiling.



Kane fought hard and did take a game, but Golden did advance to the finals.

Sound and Golden. The two Koreans, the two Startale players, the two people sponsored by Red Bull. They played an exciting final and people were getting hyped. More exciting than the games, and the 40/40 jokes, was the trophy these two were playing for. Seriously, this thing looked sick. A mock disk hard drive with a weighted disk, California magnet, bull reader, and circuit board back is the coolest eSports trophy I have ever seen.

Golden was super happy to win and get his trophy. He was radiating happiness. After doing his little post tournament interview/ceremony he took his trophy and went to KBBQ with his teammate to celebrate. I was sad I couldn’t get to do a little interview with him.



I stuck around after most of the other people left. We sat and joked and enjoyed some drinks with Day[9], MrBitter, and the players. Everyone took it upon themselves to play a micro-tournament while the crew was tearing down the set. I believe they intended to stream this earlier in the day but because of the HSC delay they never got to it. I recorded the players while they were partaking in their micro tournament. Turned out to be 20 minutes of unusable B roll that I can never upload because of the beer in the shot with the Red Bull logo, and the banter between players and casters that really shouldn’t be hosted online. Grubby was going to win before the power cut out.

The party moved to K-town in downtown Los Angeles. Puck, Vibe, Kane, Select, Demu, Bitter, 9, Tyler (of day9tv and Lone Star), and I drove about 15 miles through not ideal LA to get to a place that Sean proclaimed is the “best KBBQ in LA.” We waited a little while for our table because the place was not super big but we joked around outside. We were trying to get Select to teach us Korean, and tell us jokes in English. For 5 minutes of my life I knew how to ask a girl if she wanted to go to bed in Korean.

We got inside and had to split the party up because the tables were not big enough. I ended up sitting and having all you can eat with Bitter, Demuslim and Tyler. While the other table talked about games and light hearted issues, we had a serious conversation about love and life. The meat was uber good.

After stuffing ourselves I bid the other fellows adieu and drove back home. All in all it was one hell of a good Sunday.

Hope you enjoyed my recap and pictures for the day. I am excited to be going to MLG Anaheim next weekend and I will be shooting significantly more pictures and have a lot more to chat about. I still have an E3 blog to throw up soon from the time I spent on the floor there. I am most excited about putting regular content on this site.


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Author
Leafeator
A Communication Studies student at UCLA, loving life in Westwood. I am an eSports freelancer, redditor, and overall cool dude. Laugh for no reason. I hope you like the things I write <3