NHL announces esports venture with international tournament

NHL emblem (Getty Pictures)

The NHL unveiled plans for its first venture into esports Friday with the announcement of the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship tournament. 

The league is teaming up with EA Sports activities to ship a bracket-fashion one-on-one tournament for registered on-line gamers within the U.S., Canada and Europe beginning March 24. After 4 consecutive weekends, a champion will probably be topped June 19 with a prize pool of $one hundred,000 and an invite to seem on the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The league hopes venturing into the esports platform will assist develop its fan base and permit the NHL to attach with present followers differently.

“That is actually at its embryonic stage,” NHL government vice chairman and chief income officer Keith Wachtel stated (by way of ESPN). “That is probably the most primary means for our followers to play. We’re additionally going to discover sooner or later the chance, and we will check this with a number of the guys on the regional tournaments and the ultimate, perhaps a two-versus-two or a 3-versus-three.”

The venture is a collaboration with three of the league’s international broadcast companions — NBC Sports activities, Sportsnet in Canada and Viasat in Sweden — the place the networks will every host a regional remaining and produce content material across the numerous levels of the championship.

The tournament will undergo single-elimination on-line qualifier rounds, which incorporates tournaments for the Xbox One and PlayStation four consoles.The PS4 will grow to be the unique console for the regional last and championship spherical. 

The highest two players from every regional ultimate will advance to Las Vegas for the ultimate, which shall be a spherical-robin-type tournament. The winner and runner-up from the spherical robin will compete in a greatest-of-three ultimate spherical after which the 2018 NHL Gaming world champion can be named. 

Players have performed the EA Sports activities Hockey League on-line for a number of years, however that is the primary transfer into the esports marketplace for the NHL. Former COO of the Arizona Coyotes Ari Segal is now the COO of the Esports Immortals workforce, and is hopeful this will probably be a constructive transfer for the league.

“I am excited that they are making an attempt out-of-the-field strategies to succeed in a younger viewers which may not in any other case be acquainted with or captivated with NHL content material,” Segal advised ESPN. “Then again, so as to succeed on this market, you need to be actually, actually exact about who your goal is.”