Courtesy of Super League Gaming
Friday, July 21, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Some of the best unpaid esports players in the country are set to compete in a series of online events to determine which city is the king of gamers.
Super League Gaming, an amateur esports league that has teams in 12 cities across the U.S. including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston, is hosting a tournament based on the game League of Legends.
The Las Vegas branch, the Las Vegas Wildcards, joined the league this year and will be taking part in its first League of Legends national tournament. Super League Gaming was founded in 2015 after the emergence of professional esports leagues.
“What about the 99 percent of gamers out there who aren’t professionals?” said Ann Hand, Super League Gaming chief executive officer. As professional leagues take shape, Hand said that a more robust amateur system is being created underneath it.
Milo Ocampo, president of the UNLV esports club 8 Bit, is assisting the Super League Gaming crew to recruit players. He said having an esports team such as the Wildcards is exciting for the gaming community.
“I’m out here helping spread the Super League Gaming word and helping them draw interest from around town,” Ocampo said. “In one day, I added 25 players.”
Super League Gaming is divided into two sections made up of a pair of games. One is aimed at younger players, ages 8-14 years old, with a Minecraft game league. The other is for gamers from 16-30 years old with the League of Legends game.
“Think of this as kind of a club level, or almost a minor league of battles,” Hand said. “These are people who are ranked. They’re playing this game a lot, and they’re seeking ways to show their chops against other players.”
The League of Legends City Champs tournament pits players from across the 12 teams in the Super League.
“It really taps into the inherent desire we all have to represent our city or root for it, creating a lot of fandom around local towns and providing competitive esports to a much wider set of gamers,” Hand said.
Ocampo said Las Vegas’ untapped enthusiasm makes the area ripe for esports expansion.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for the players who strive to be a part of the community and want to be a coach or a player, to showcase their competitive side,” he said.
Starting today, each of the 12 cities will host a four-day online qualifying event. Players pay a $5 fee and compete against other players in Las Vegas in one of the four tiers, decided upon by the number of points a player has.
The best 60 players in each of the four tiers in Las Vegas will then compete against the best gamers of the other 11 teams in the city vs. city battle. Each team will take part in the tournament from a local movie theater in their area, with the Las Vegas site being the Century 16 Theaters inside Santa Fe Station. There is an additional $60 fee for each team playing in the theaters.
“That will take it from an online digital experience to a live event,” Hand said. “All players will go to their local theater and engage in these city vs. city bouts.”
After the 12 cities clash in the city battles, the top performing cities will then meet for the title.
“It will all culminate on Aug. 16 when we have the finals between the top two teams out of the 12 in the U.S.,” Hand said.
Because it’s an amateur event, there is no cash prize for the winners, but the winning team will receive 5,800 RP Riot points (currency in the game), high-end jerseys branded with the team logo and a trophy.
Hand said she hopes to expand the league with new games, along with an in-person event at a local esports arena as well.
“The beauty of this community-building platform that we created is there is all kinds of different experiences that can come off this platform,” she said.