It’s not new information that professional gamers are the new ‘It’ athletes. Just last month popular streamer and professional Overwatch player xQc signed a $100 million contract with new streaming platform Kick. That’s more than Lebron James’ contract with the Lakers, who is widely regarded as one of the most famous athletes in the world. The rising interest in esports is partly attributed to COVID-19, but doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The global industry is the fastest growing sport in the world, and is projected to eclipse $10 billion in the next decade.
Despite grumblings from youth sports activists and begrudged girlfriends, the gaming industry promises fame and fortune, and many cities are throwing their hat in the ring to become the next esports hub. Salt Lake is about to be one of them.
On August 6th, The Gateway will host an unprecedented event for Utah: The Halo Championship Series. Attendees of the main event at The Depot, which is already sold out, will watch as competitors from around the globe compete for a grand prize of $125K. Interested viewers who weren’t able to secure a ticket can still enjoy the festivities at The Depot’s “underground venue,” which is open to the public. The space will provide everything from free play centers to backyard games. You can also view the tournament in the comfort of your home on Halo and HCS’s twitch and youtube accounts. More on who is competing, and how the championship bracket is decided, on HCS’s website. This event takes place Aug. 4–6.
A less competitive, but just as fun event, the Gateway is also hosting the Nintendo Summer of Play Tour, an all-ages event that invites everyone to come and interact with their favorite characters. The traveling set features six unique areas where guests can sit for photo ops with Tom Nook and Isabelle from Animal Crossing, and play Mario Party with friends. Don’t forget to get your Nintendo passport when you arrive and collect stamps at each activity to win free Nintendo goodies. This event takes place Aug. 10–13.
Utah Esports Teams
Jazz gaming is Utah’s foremost esports team created in collaboration between the NBA and the Take Two Interactive. The professional league invites Utah’s best NBA 2K players to compete with other teams around the country and stream to a live audience.
In 2017, the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Game Studio school created a collegiate esports league. The competitive league boasts four team rosters across four games like League of Legends and Rocket League. In conjunction with the program, the players have access to sports psychologists, nutrition and wellness coaches, cognitive and behavioral trainers.
A student-run club organization, the Utah Valley esports league was launched in 2021. Lovers of all competitive and casual games are invited to compete in internal and scheduled tournaments.
Find more local gaming communities and clubs here!
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