One of the largest and most lucrative entertainment events of the year is coming around once again, as officials announced the beginning of preparations for the annual Mind Clash tournaments. The press conference held today attracted a great deal of attention to the tournament already, with the announcement that this year’s venue would be Caldari Prime. Controversy surrounding the choice of venue has already ensued, following further clarifications from officials stating that it had been requested specifically by the Caldari Corporations sponsoring the event.
The move has promoted a revival of current debate about the significance of Caldari Prime in the two Empire’s relations. The more liberal of State corporations, as well as other parties, have labelled the request as nothing more than a publicity stunt, whilst other groups see it as something far more important, some even claiming it is an outright provocation.
Shortly after the conference, Roden Shipyard officials temporarily closed their Hueromont offices in protest, holding their own press release on the steps outside, where they strongly condemned the tournament organizers for entertaining the sponsor’s requests. At the end of the announcement, Roden Spokesperson Orvecel Raouli singled out Caldari Steel, one of the tournaments chief sponsors, labelling them as “a threat to peace and prosperity between the Empires”. The quick and resolute reaction from the Federation Ultra-Nationals has mustered greater support than expected, with few parties willing to speak out against an announcement made against the backdrop of the once-devastated city of Hueromont.
Despite the controversy surrounding this year’s tournament, everything looks set to proceed as planned, as officials begin the process of selecting Clash Masters and organising the matches. Already guaranteed on the list is the current Champion, Joelyn Donalokos, who was notably absent at the conference today due to delays in travel. As an Intaki sponsored by the Caldari corporations, he has been the focus of recent attacks from the Nationalist corner. Despite this, Joelyn’s team as well as the Mind Clash officials have been unified over the years in rising above the controversy the sport often brings, a strategy that has so far proved successful.
Other corporations and factions have pledged support and assistance to help maintain and promote a peaceful event in Luminaire. Coupled with the confidence of the current Champion to continue, as well as the assurance of game officials, the existing venue looks set to be the home of what will be one of the most watched tournaments in Mind Clash history. Recent improvements over the last years in presentation and monitoring software, as well as greater access to official betting facilities, has drawn speculation that this years tournament will be the most profitable ever. It is rumoured that this year’s odds will be the most profitable yet, for those brave or indeed foolish enough to bet against the master of the Blue Tiger illusion.