$50K esports tournament coming to 2020 Grey Cup festival

The 2020 Grey Cup Committee and Saskatchewan esports organization SKL have partnered to bring a national League of Legends tournament to Grey Cup Week. 

Devin Johnson, left, warms-up before playing League of Legends at a SKLeague eSports tournament held at Matrix Gaming Centre in Regina, Sask. on Saturday Nov. 7, 2015. Michael Bell / Regina Leader-Post

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The 2020 Grey Cup Committee and Saskatchewan esports organization SKL have partnered to bring a national League of Legends tournament to Grey Cup Week.

The finals for the tournament will be held during Grey Cup Festival in Regina from Nov. 19-21. The tournament’s prize pool is set at $50,000, which SKL said is the largest prize pool ever offered for a Canadian League of Legends tournament. The prize money is being provided by the Grey Cup Festival.

Mike Edwards, the executive director of the 2020 Grey Cup Festival, said esports were made a component of the festival in order to engage youth and keep up with the current trends of the sporting world.

While not everyone may see a football game and League of Legends tournament as equivalent sporting events, Edwards thinks technology is becoming an increasingly large part of life, and that includes the sports world.

“They go hand in hand. Technology is a part of every everyday sport. So to say that they aren’t the same is is kind of counterintuitive when you look at things within football with the video replay and all of that, all those new technologies that are becoming a part of it. This is just one other way that the two worlds are coming together with technology and sport,” said Edwards.

The 2020 Grey Cup is taking place in Regina on Nov. 22 at Mosaic Stadium. The festival begins Nov. 18 and runs through to game time on Nov. 22. All of the festival’s events will take place at Evraz Place.

The first-place winners of the tournament will receive $20,000, second place $12,000, third and fourth place $5,000 and fifth to eighth place $2,000.

This isn’t Evraz Place’s first foray into esports. This past summer, Queen City Ex hosted $10,000 Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. tournaments.

League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena video game, and one of the most popular competitive games in the world.

The tournament is only open to Canadian citizens. Registration is now open on SKL’s website and will close on March 27. The entry fee is $25 per qualifier.

There will be four online qualifiers between March 28 and Sept. 19. The winner of each qualifier will qualify for the main event, while the rest of the top eight receive circuit points. At the end of the four qualifiers, the top three teams from the leaderboard will be given invitations to the final tournament in November. The final slot will be awarded to the winner of a live last-chance qualifier happening in Regina on Nov. 19.

For more information on the tournament, head to SKL’s website.

mmelnychuk@postmedia.com

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