Shanghai authorities on Monday announced an open-to-all video game tournament featuring late-stage matches at spectator-filled arenas, in a step toward solidifying the city’s ambition of becoming a global esports capital.
The Esports Shanghai Amateur Championship invites local teams to join separate tournaments for League of Legends and Honor of Kings — both tactical, team-based games owned by internet giant Tencent — for a chance to win the 50,000 yuan ($7,500) first prize out of a total prize pool of 200,000 yuan.
The esports tournament is a new component in an event called the Shanghai Citizen Sports Meeting, now in its third year. It pits locals against one another in 342 forms of competition including darts, soccer, triathlon, tai chi, square-dancing, fishing, and the ancient board game Go.
Over 10,000 amateur gamers are expected to sign up for the tournaments before the Nov. 13 deadline, which will be followed by selection and knockout rounds online, then offline rounds held at local malls and esports arenas. The games will begin Nov. 21 and run for one month, and esports fans outside Shanghai can watch the matches on popular livestreaming platforms Huya and Douyu.
There are no restrictions on who can participate, though the competition is aimed at average Joes and Jills.
Shanghai authorities are hyping the event as the city’s first government-organized esports tournament to be open to all residents. The event intends to “broaden the city’s esports ecosystem” and “popularize esports culture,” while helping Shanghai become synonymous with esports, according to Monday’s announcement.
The local government first declared its plans for Shanghai to become a global leader in esports in late 2017. Last year, the city hosted over 1,500 large-scale esports tournaments, accounting for nearly half of all such events in China.
In September, Shanghai welcomed League of Legends teams from around the world — including COVID-19 hot spots — to compete in the World Championship for millions of dollars. When the contest was pulled off without a hitch, it was hailed as an encouraging sign after the city had previously been forced to cancel more than 180 international sporting events because of the coronavirus.
On Saturday, over 6,000 live spectators and 3.8 million online viewers watched the grand final of the World Championship, which ended with South Korean powerhouse Damwon defeating dark horse Chinese squad Suning 3-1 in a best-of-five series.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: Gamers take a break from competition at a dedicated esports facility in Shanghai’s Xuhui District, July 26, 2017. People Visual)