Guess the average CPT Top 8 time

Faster than Major League Baseball?

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Earlier this month, I opined that the Capcom Pro Tour Online Central America West 2 Top 8 seemed to take a long time. There were 111 rounds played, and yet there was no Reset Final.

Two weeks ago, when Papoi won CPT Online Eastern Europe, I cheered for how fast the early portion of the tournament went. More time for me to enjoy the rest of the esports events held during the day. I went for a bike ride, cooked food at a reasonable hour and had more relaxation time.

Central America West 2 and Eastern Europe 1 were two tournaments in the span of three weeks, and yet these were the thoughts going through my mind. One Top 8 couldn’t end, the other couldn’t wait to end.

I had no marker of how long either Top 8 actually took, so I decided to do the work. I wanted to know that as well as the length of the average Top 8 this year. There have been quite a few this year that have felt like a drag, Reset Final or not.

There now have been 21 CPT events, but this analysis is of the first 20. Full disclosure, this was written prior to the Nordic/Baltic Top 8 because of a Sunday commitment.

No, we can’t just look at the YouTube archive, take the full video lengths and do the average, that’s unfair because there are preshow greetings and post-tournament interviews.

Here’s the rule: the time starts at “FIGHT” of the first match played and ends at “KO” of the final round played in the championship series.

Before you continue, take a guess as to what you think the average Top 8 length is. Write it down. OK.

I debated between a couple of times and settled on 3 hours 25 minutes as my initial guess before doing all of the work.

Time is a notable discussion when it comes to professional sports leagues.

Major League Baseball is around 3 hours but multiply that by 162 games and beyond; it’s focused on bringing down the time by trying almost anything.

MLB has tried several things to speed up the pace of the game. Despite its efforts, the 2021 season was the longest on record, 3:10:07. The 2021 mark beat the 2020 mark by more than 2 minutes, 3:07:46.

Do you think the average CPT Top 8 time is longer or shorter than an average MLB game?

Football games are almost guaranteed 3 hours for the 17 regular season weeks and 18 this year.

FiveThirtyEight did an analysis a few years ago on average NFL game lengths, much like baseball the NFL’s time is also going up. It’s now about 3:10:00. In 2008 the average time was just below 3:03:00.

Basketball hasn’t moved much over the years, staying within the 2:30 range. Do you think an average CPT Top 8 is within striking distance?

Based on the markers set when I did this analysis, the average length of a CPT Top 8 through 20 events is 3:00:26.

My guess of 3:25 wasn’t really close.

Some events individually have gone that far. The longest Top 8 this year was UK/Ireland, won by The4Philzz, that was 3:32:45. There was no Reset Final.

Central America West 2, the event that made me look all of this up, was 3:28:28, the second-longest event this year. Again, that had no Reset Final.

Eastern Europe 1 clocked in at 2:53:46. It was not the shortest Top 8 of the year. Granted, that might had been a moot point when Papoi forced a Reset Final.

North America Midwest 1, which had four 2-X comebacks, is so far the shortest Top 8 at 2:41:15.

Twelve of the 20 Top 8s have been faster than 3 hours.

Looking for the common pattern and there isn’t any. These Top 8s have been all over the place this year. The Republic of South Africa only had 95 rounds played AND a Reset Final AND finished well below 3 hours.

North America West had only 5 more rounds played than the Republic of South Africa, had no Reset Final and yet was almost 25 minutes longer.

Is a 3-hour event acceptable to you? While sports leagues try to figure out what the best length of an event is for their game, esports events tend to keep increasing theirs with no end in sight.

Esports leagues have prided themselves over the recent years of getting the eyeballs and keeping them glued to the screens longer and longer and longer and … goodness gracious my eyeballs have detached.

Seems like the goal for many esports leagues is to lengthen their events. I want to watch many esports during the weekends, not have to limit myself to one on Saturday and the CPT Top 8 on Sunday.

When I ventured into the competitive fighting game world more than a decade ago, Top 8s were placed into 2-hour blocks. I’m not talking about the game time being 2 hours as I defined it in this stat tracking, it was the whole experience. Even when Top 8s were delayed, it was only by a few minutes.

The Street Fighter IV era was the beginning of moving away from 2-hour windows, although many tournaments still tried, some pulling it off.

Two hours is impossible today. But can we trim the fat to where it’s nowhere near 3 hours? I don’t know whether 2:30 is doable, 2:45 sounds like a good start.

The North America East 1 Top 8 might be the one to strive for. It had known names, a reset final, a comeback from The Pit, multiple character switches and finished in less than 2:45. Was there fat from that Top 8 that could be trimmed?

Initial thought is cutting ad time, and I will immediately say no.

Capcom’s Top 8s have ad breaks after every 2 matches, so that’s 20 minutes. However, these esports leagues have to pay the bills, players need to exhale instead of being put through a meat grinder, and commentators gotta use the restroom. Cutting commercial time doesn’t solve it.

Making Top 8s two days are pointless, which means the Top 16 showcase would have to start a day earlier, and now we’re talking a 3-day workload. No. If a Top 8 can be played in a day, do it (looking at you, Clash Royale League). Splitting the days is not the answer.

I don’t want to say we’re stuck and have to ‘accept it,’ that’s been the fighting games community’s fallback when it comes to generating ideas. Perhaps 3 hours is the best case scenario.

Some housecleaning

Just an update on some changes to the database.

Players in the last two months who have reached a Top 8 for the first time are now available in the search. There are more than 500 players available in the database, which is incredible.

I’ve decided to remove timestamps from the database. Adding the timestamps was a hefty task in itself and took time away from compiling stats and writing the newsletter, which are priorities 1 and 2.

The idea behind adding timestamps came from Baseball Savant, which has the mother lode to work with. Although YouTube has a lot of Top 8s, including every one done by Capcom since the pro tour started, the two priorities need the time that I was giving to jotting down the times of every round.