UNC Esports, Carolina Union Activities Board and the Residential Housing Association are hosting a League of Legends World Championship watch party Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Union’s Great Hall.
There will be a 1-v-1 Me, Yo! tournament held during the watch party and all participants will win a prize.
The event will have sponsors such as Monster Energy and Extra Life. Free food (pizza) and swag will be provided.
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game published by Riot Games in 2009.
The game has steadily grown in popularity since it was published. Last year’s League of Legends World Championship finals garnered 43 million unique viewers. For reference, Super Bowl LI had 111.3 million viewers.
Richard Lang, vice president of the UNC League of Legends club, said this year’s championship was a significant sign of the growing popularity of League of Legends and esports.
“The World Championship is being held in the Bird’s Nest in China, which is the same place the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics were held," Lang said. "Having esports occupy an area that was used for the Olympics really speaks to the magnitude with which esports is growing and expanding its fan base.”
Alex Wang, film committee chair for CUAB, said it was League of Legends' popularity coupled with its ease of watching that led him to reach out to UNC esports about partnering for a watch party.
“Esports caters to an audience that likes to watch,” Wang said. “Rather than sports where people like to play more than watch or have an older audience, esports is something that is easy to just sit down and watch. And esports and gaming in general is an area CUAB has not delved deeply into.”
Anne Chao, an officer in the UNC esports club and president of the UNC League of Legends club, said they want this year’s watch party to be for more than just UNC’s gamer community.
“In the past, we’ve been very successful in attracting UNC’s gamer community to our events,” Chao said. “But we haven’t been able to connect with the larger gaming community in the area. We want others who might not know what League is to maybe come in and say, 'This looks kind of fun, I’d like to try it.'”
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