.@CEOJebailey addresses concerns raised over Daytona Beach after #CEO2018 's conclusion.
About two weeks ago, gamers flocked to Daytona Beach's Ocean Center to celebrate CEO 2018, the latest iteration of one of the biggest summertime sensations to hit the fighting game community since 2010.
CEO had just about everything that gaming fanatics could ask for. Tournaments consisting of the best players in the world, a lineup of everybody's favorite fighting games, a series of demos featuring upcoming titles such as Smash Ultimate and Soul Calibur VI, food stands, cosplay contests, and of course, a vast arena where the finals of each tournament game were held. It was also in this arena that CEO's trademark boxing ring was present, and all the finalists would find themselves competing in the ring in some of the hottest matches of their competitive careers.
But the latest addition to CEO would top just about everything else the event had to offer, and that was a showcase of sixteen of the world's biggest wrestling icons from a promotional wrestling company called New Japan Pro-Wrestling. It was during this occasion that two worlds with uncounted similarities would overlap with one another, and the end result had all of the spectators walking away with a growing interest in wrestling that would exist in harmony with their esports interests.
It goes without saying that CEO 2018 is considered one of the best events that anyone would ever experience, especially considering that the event took place right next to the Atlantic Ocean, a beautiful sight that attendants could enjoy at the Daytona Beach just outside of the Hilton. Many are looking forward to making the return trip next year.
Unfortunately, for some of the participants, their experience was partly cast in shadow. Shortly after everyone returned home, concerns regarding their experience outside of the Ocean Center, as well as their journey to Daytona, broke out across Twitter. One of the primary obstacles was unpleasant encounters with racist groups lurking in areas close to the venue. These encounters did not turn physical but were nevertheless mentally taxing.
The other mountainous obstacle concerned air travel to CEO. Some were forced to land at Orlando rather than Daytona due to insufficient airlines being available at the area, whereas others were unable to make the journey at all due to their flights being cancelled for unknown reasons. A last-minute group funding effort was organized to help get their fellow gamers over to CEO, and for the most part, the effort proved successful.
Jebailey immediately took notice of these concerns during and after the event, and he publicly announced his intention to address them in a meeting with Daytona Beach representatives. The following is quoted from a thread he wrote up on Twitter shortly before he went into surgery for repairing his broken tendon, a leg injury he sustained shortly before CEO 2018 took place:
When I searched for a new venue in 2017, the Ocean Center was the only one that met CEO2018's big dreams checklist. We signed a multi-year deal to make it fit our budget. I think it met our event needs, but the surrounding area has not. I'm not taking that lightly.
I plan to meet with the city to see what can be done to help ensure CEO's attendees are provided the sense of security they expect from CEO, both inside the venue & outside. I don't have answers today, but I'm listening & willing to try anything I can to make CEO perfect.
I do know when I first spoke with the city and was made aware of all their cool future plans to make Daytona a hot spot again, I really felt this place would be perfect for many years. If I have to run for mayor and clean certain paces up myself I’d do it!
A factor that went into Jebailey's decision to choose the Ocean Center as CEO's new abode is due to the increasing amount of interest in the event itself. Since its inception in 2010, the number of competitors and spectators alike has been on a non-stop climb from the hundreds and well into the thousands. Finally, the growth in participants became a challenge to adjust to at Orlando's Wyndham Resort, and so Jebailey and his team made the decision to relocate to Daytona.
The Ocean Center has definitely delivered on everybody's expectations, as have the nearby attractions including the Daytona Beach, but the surrounding area, as well as airport accommodations, failed to strike a similar chord.
In spite of the overwhelming exhaustion from the work that went into CEO as well as his surgery, Jebailey refused to shy away from the concerns raised by those who attended his event. He maintained consistent contact with Daytona representatives while simultaneously recovering from his surgery. Today, he has some updates to share. Read on:
Couple updates on city of Daytona post #CEO2018. Nearly everyday I've been in contact with people from the city. Our comments and my tweets really lit a fire over there and future events safety have become one of their biggest talking points now going forward.
I have a meeting next week with the Chief of Police over there, but they've already had meetings discussing the need to clean up the beach side and make Daytona an all around great destination again. You all have my word, I'm doing everything in my power with my voice to help.
Daytona has a lot of great projects and future plans so I'm happy to be a part of their conversations for the future like #CEO2019 and possibly more after while they continue to grow again. So I'm glad everyone who had issues spoke up because change will happen for the better.
I've also been in contact with the Airport. We brought them a lot of business this past year and I know they're trying to get more airlines to land at their airport. Fingers crossed it grows sooner than later so transport is easier next year.
If anybody ever needed further evidence of Jebailey's commitment to delivering on what is promised for his events, they need only note the fact that a stringent security system was in place at CEO to prevent suspicious subjects from setting foot in the Ocean Center. Bag checks were conducted for anyone carrying possessions into CEO so that no unwelcome items would find their way into the event. This system has proven more than efficient, a fact that CEO attendants can vouch for themselves.
It remains to be seen as to how exactly the concerns over Daytona will be addressed, but it is encouraged you follow @CEOJebailey on Twitter to stay up to date, especially if you have plans to return to CEO next year. As originally reported here, the event will be making a second appearance at the Ocean Center on June 28-30, 2019.
As indicated in the trailer below, CEO 2019 will also be celebrating the brand's tenth anniversary. Get those birthday hats and blowers all set to go!
Missed out on CEO 2018? Visit their official YouTube channel to enjoy footage of the finals for each game featured at CEO, as well as the legendary wrestling event that won the hearts of many.
P.S. Anime enthusiasts can look forward to CEOtaku 2018, which takes place on September 21-23 at the Orlando Wyndham Resort. The premier Anime FGC Event will feature a stacked lineup of over fifteen anime fighting games. Registration launches tonight at 10:00 Eastern Time and will be available at smash.gg/ceotaku2018.
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