ESL Tournament Director Jonas Vikan Steps Down for Family Reasons

  • ESL tournament director Jonas Vikan has chosen to step down to spend more time with his children.
  • Vikan joined ESL in August 2017, having formerly competed at the professional level in Counter-Strike 1.6.
  • Alexander Nehr, senior product manager for ESL, will assume the tournament director role held by Vikan.

Former Counter-Strike Database-Link-e1521645463907 pro Jonas “bsl” Vikan has stepped down from his role as  tournament director. In a Medium post, Vikan stated that his last official day at ESL was July 9, and explained that he had stepped down in part to spend more time with his children.

“During the last 11 months, I have spent 138 days on the road,” he wrote. “I supervised 11 pro level competitions in that period, in Germany, US…Denmark, Malaysia, South Korea, Poland, Australia and Brazil. To do all this meant spending 4,5 months away from my two kids (aged 3 and 5 years). This works for some, but it doesn’t work for me.”

Vikan will be replaced by senior product manager for ESL, Alexander Nehr. 

Vikan will be replaced by senior product manager for ESL, Alexander Nehr. Nehr has been with ESL for 11 years, having held positions in product management and league operations.

ESL brought on Vikan in August 2017, pulling the former competitor back into esports after a stint in investigative journalism. He began his esports career in 1999, playing Counter-Strike 1.6, the game that launched Counter-Strike as an esport. Earlier this year, The Esports Observer spoke with Vikan about his career, with the former pro detailing the evolution from his playing days to the spectacle and professionalism of ESL’s events today.

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“First of all, when I was a player, we were happy if we could hear each other in game, because of crowds and all of that. So the sport has definitely evolved, in that regard,” Vikan said in the interview.

In his 11-month tenure with ESL, Vikan oversaw several landmark moments in the company’s growth. In Katowice, Poland, ESL distributed over $2M in prize money across ESL One Katowice 2018 and Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2018, the largest collected prize pool in the company’s history. Recently, ESL announced that next year’s IEM Katowice will feature a Valve Database-Link-e1521645463907 CS:GO Major—the first Valve Major awarded to ESL since 2016.

While Vikan is stepping away from esports, he admits in his post that he likely won’t be able to stay away forever:

“A friend who has supported my every esport endeavor over nearly 20 years asked me if I am now finally done with esports. My answer was I think that’s not possible, its fabric is too closely weaved with who I am. It has given me everything. But for right now, I need to step down.”