RALEIGH – The city of Raleigh is hosting its first major esports event in recent years after getting selected to host the second annual Six Major this upcoming summer.
Kicking off on Monday at the Raleigh Convention Center, the event will include Rainbow Six gameplay, with 16 teams from around the world battling for the title of Major Champions and a $500,000 prize pool.
“The week-long event will see 16 teams travel to Raleigh and compete for $500,000. On top of the on-stage competition, the event will offer booths and activities for all attendees,” says gaming giant Ubisoft.
The event comes after, according to CNN, ESPN and ABC decided to delay broadcast of another epsorts event, citing two recent mass shootings in the US.
Six Major also will take advantage of recently upgraded technology at the Convention Center designed to increase Internet speed for such events as esports that require broadband.
Teams from around the world will be competing. After opening with online broadcast competition only, the event will be open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ubisoft is parent company of Triangle-based Red Storm Entertainment, developer of Tom Clancy-related shooter titles including Rainbow Six: Siege.
Recently, the city teamed up with Big Block, a Los Angeles-based creative services company specializing in esports, to evaluate local facilities and educate them on the business of esports in the lead up to the event.
“Big Block quickly helped Raleigh identify the unique assets within our existing venues and gaming ecosystem here, then began connecting us strategically utilizing their global relationships with esports leagues and event organizers,” Loren Gold, executive vice President of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.
“As a direct result of our partnership with Big Block, Raleigh, N.C. has quickly ascended to the global stage and is well for positioned to host world-class esports events.”
Esports (also known as electronic sports, e-sports, or eSports) is a form of competition using video games. Most commonly, esports takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.
Global esports revenues are expected to hit $1.1 billion this year, according to market intelligence company Newzoo. That’s a nearly 27% increase compared to 2018.
As a result of the partnership, a new Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has recently been formed. The LOC is made up of the GRCVB, GRSA and Big Block. The partnership started in February and Big Block is acting as a senior staff member for the LOC to help accelerate sustainable economic growth, while establishing esports as a visitor and convention business.
“Some things can be quickly homegrown, but esports is not one of them,” Ed Tomasi, managing director esports at Big Block, said in a statement. “Our team has been involved with esports for over fifteen years, and we’re well positioned to establish global relationships for forward-thinking cities like my hometown of Raleigh.”