The race for world firsts were hardly as major as it is now. For long time there was like 2-3 major guilds to compete of them.. What was it again? Sk gaming and nihlium and method? Those were the "zomg famous" people.
Now we got: Ensidia, stars, paragon, vodka, method, for the horde, blood legion.. well just go look at wowprogress who have 7/7 - those people have fans and they are involved and all that.. back in BC it seemed bit more of battle of 3s now its "10 possible guilds who can get it" so its more major as the scene has raised majorly