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Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.
ESPN has announced it will host an Apex Legends competition under its newly created esports event series, EXP, to be held Thursday night and the upcoming X Games Minneapolis in August. The events which will feature multiple teams of three competing in three rounds of EA and Respawn’s Battle Royale shooter Apex Legends, with a $25,000 donation to the V Foundation for Cancer Research in the winning team’s name as the top prize.
Over 50 celebrities, professional athletes, esports stars and top gaming streamers will compete in the tournament, including Dr DisRespect, musician Dillon Francis, pro football players Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears and Eli Apple of the New Orleans Saints, as well as Dizzy and KingRichard of NRG Esports.
The inclusion of Dr DisRespect is of particular note, as the controversial Twitch and YouTube personality recently came under fire for filming himself in a public bathroom while attending the E3 convention in Los Angeles last month. A violation of both California state law and Twitch’s terms of service regarding privacy, the act led to his channel of nearly 3.5 million subscribers being suspended from the streaming platform for two weeks before it was reinstated.
The Apex Legends competition will be streamed live on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET across multiple platforms, including the ESPN App, ESPN Esports’ Twitch channel, YouTube channel and Twitter account and the official Apex Legends Twitch channel.
Elsewhere, the new Call of Duty esports league, dubbed Call of Duty World League, has found its commissioner in a familiar face: Johanna Faries, the current head of Call of Duty esports at Activision. In accepting her new role, Faries expressed a clear vision for the future, saying, “Now that we have begun to sell franchises to ownership groups all over the world, it’s less about going from a white sheet of paper to what we have shaped now, and more about operating and managing this competitive ecosystem in a best-in-class way.” The league recently named Los Angeles and Minneapolis as the newest cities to host a Call of Duty World League team, with more announcements expected in the future.
Here’s what else is happening the world of esports.
Final Dota 2 International Qualifier Coming This Week
The last North American qualifier before Dota 2’s biggest competition of the year, The International, kicks off this week, and while team Evil Geniuses comfortably holds the top spot, eight other clubs will compete for the second slot at the competition. The favorites going into the event are Complexity Gaming, J.Storm and Forward Gaming, but dark horses Beastcoast and Team Xolotl may have plans to play spoiler. The regional qualifier will begin Thursday and end Sunday, while The International 9 is set to kick off Aug. 15 in Shanghai.
Six EVO 2019 Boasts Record Number of Entrants
EVO 2019, the largest competitive fighting game event in the world, has set a new milestone: Six of the nine featured tournaments will feature over 1,000 entrants. EVO head Joey “MrWiz” Cuellar announced the feat on his Twitter account, saying that first-time EVO game Under Night In-Birth EXE Late[st] is the most recent game to top 1,000 competitors, though the exact number has not yet been announced. Registration for this year’s EVO series, which also includes Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 among its featured events, will close Sunday.
Riot Games Partners With Girls Who Code, Special Olympics
League of Legends developer Riot Games is partnering with Girls Who Code and the Special Olympics during its seven-week Summer Immersion Program for 10th and 11th grade girls. Among the featured workshops are an esports broadcast field trip to the League of Legends streaming facilities, a robotics demonstration featuring Riot’s chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro and head of platform Oksana Kubushyna and a Special Olympics “Stream-a-Thon” from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. PT on July 19. The graduation ceremony for the summer immersion program will then be held Aug. 1, with a commencement speech by Riot co-founder Marc Merrill.
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