I fail to see the logic behind the argument "There is no central location in the US that is easy for everyone to travel to", especially because 3 times a year we have 4 teams flying to dallas from all over the US just for lan. I don't think anyone is arguing that a community based lan would attract the entire community and everyone would go. It's more realistic that (given the prize pot was big enough to give the top teams incentive) we would have the top 2-4 teams flying in for the finals, and on top of that, other players in the area could go. In addition to having the "CEVO Finals Tournament", there could be an open tournament going on for those players who would be attending because they are within close proximity of the lan. Just picture the GXL with an additional invite tournament going on. We would have the highest level of play on display right in front of the general public who attends the lan, as well as an avenue for them to start playing in an open tournament right then and there.
I also fail to see the logic behind the argument "we can't host our own lan because it is too expensive." Existing lans already have all of the servers and all of the necessary hardware to host a lan. They are already shelling out the money to host the event. The only real expense for everyone would be travel. We have a long standing member of the community in Nick "TheFragile" Leon who is in charge of the tournaments at the GXL and even said that he would help us out with hosting a lan there. I'm not suggesting that this be the location or the event that we decide on, I'm just pointing out that it is not a far fetched idea or anywhere near as impossible as some people are making it out to be.
When esea had it's first season, I believe they had around 20 teams participate in a 100% open league. Teams such as Pandemic and 20ID participated, as well as teams who were far below their skill level. My memory is kind of foggy, but i also believe that they only had 1 match per week in their first season and then once they gained our interest with all of their "fancy shiny things", they switched it to 2 matches a week, almost as if to prevent us from participating in any other leagues. They most certainly did not have a LAN for us.
All of that being said, ESEA is not what it once was. In the earlier seasons, Torbull himself would message team captains of cevo rosters trying to convince them to sign up for their tf2 league. They would constantly hand out free premium to players to try out their pug systems, and they would actually treat our community with respect because they actually needed us to make their league and pug systems work if they were going to be successful in TF2 (except for lpkane, who has always been a dick, and would hand out bans to people who complained about him playing pyro in 6v6 pugs).
ESEA will always revolve around counter strike. Honestly if i was new to competitive gaming and i went to ESEA's site to inquire about their tf2 league, I'd probably say to myself "why am i trying to play tf2 when CS is so much bigger and is where the real money is at". Their coverage of the TF2 portion of the lan is mediocre at best. I have to shovel through tons of CS photos just to find that the only pictures of TF2 players are captured in the background of CS photos (hyperbole). Last season i'm fairly sure that the winner of the TF2 lan wasn't even posted within a reasonable amount of time, because when i tried to go see a picture of the winning team it was nowhere to be found on their website and i had to ask people on steam who won.
Basically all i'm trying to say is, nothing is going to happen over night. I think we can easily trump the numbers of the first season of esea. I don't recall what the prize pots were in those first couple of seasons, but i'm pretty confident that we can trump those numbers as well. There won't be a lan right off the bat. Those things take lots of planning and time. We have a league willing to take the first step with us, and community figure heads who are willing to put in the time to jump start this new league option. The fact that people are already shunning it is ridiculous. When companies compete, the consumer always benefits. Risks have to be taken to make progress, stop being little girls about it.
Edit: In regards to them supplying computers and monitors to the players who fly out, this is not a rare thing or uncommon at lans. Even the small intel lan in Atlanta has a set up like this for players to play finals on.