Sports commission hosting first esports tournament
“League of Legends” is the game of choice for the inaugural Grand Rapids Rift Clash tournament.
The West Michigan Sports Commission will host the first competitive video gaming tournament from Feb. 7-9 at Celebration Cinema GR North, 2121 Celebration Drive NE.
“Esports is so popular worldwide that the potential for our region is immense and represents a growth area for the sports commission,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “This trend will only increase, so it makes sense to create our own event to establish ourselves as an esports community so we can bid on these types of events in the future. Our long-term goal is to grow this event to the point where we’re filling Van Andel Arena with a tournament.”
Esports garnered an audience of 453.8 million people globally last year. The sport is expected to grow to 645 million and generate $1.8 billion by 2022, according to the Newzoo 2019 Global Games Market Report.
The Grand Rapids Rift Clash competition was created by WMSC with support from the esports programs at Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University and East Kentwood High School; and in partnership with Celebration Cinema GR North.
It will feature teams of five, along with a coach and an alternative player. So far, Aquinas College, Central Michigan University, Davenport University, Grand Valley State University, Jackson College, Michigan State University, Indiana Tech, Ohio Northern University and East Kentwood High School have all registered for the competition. The goal is to register 16 high school and 16 college teams from Michigan and neighboring states.
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