It’s time to dust off your controllers and game pads because Red Bull is planning to host Street Fighter V esports tournaments across North America in search of the top video game athletes, and three Canadian cities are on the map. The dates are March 4th until June 3rd for the Spring season and the Fall season runs from July 1st until October 7th.
“Back in the day there were more people coming out to tournaments and everything, but now that there’s online play they’re just staying at home being lazy. There’s plenty of people out here who look for people to play in person, that’s how we got here,” said one competitor featured on the Red Bull Proving Grounds 2017 trailer video.
Training matches for the Proving Grounds tournament will be held on March 4th and July 1st for their appropriate seasons and qualifying matches on April 1st and May 6th. Events will take place in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal as well as eight American cities and online.
It may be hard to believe but the The Street Fighter game series turns 30 this year. The game was launched in August of 1987 with the release of the original Street Fighter arcade game. It was the very first competitive fighting game, beating the popular Mortal Kombat by five years. In total, there are eight Street Fighter games, the latest being Street Fighter V, which was released in 2016 and has sold around 1.5 million copies to date. It features 24 fighters, five of which are new to the series. Street Fighter V won The Game Awards 2016 Best Fighting Game award.
This isn’t Red Bull’s first involvement with esports, as the company sponsors several esports teams, events, and even internet personalities that use platforms such as twitch.tv to broadcast their gameplay to an audience worldwide. They even sponsor Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara, who has a long list of 1st place medals in Street Fighter tournaments around the world. Red Bulls focus seems to be mainly on League of Legends, DOTA 2, and Hearthstone which all have a very large following and have tournaments which hand out millions of dollars in prizes every year. Red Bull even as a portion of its website dedicated strictly to esports events, news, and interviews.
“SoCal has been known to dominate in Street Fighter, so if you win here (California, one of the spots the tournament will be hosted) you’re probably going to win (Proving Grounds),” boasted another competitor, clearly confident that California will be stealing the tournament.
“Don’t sleep on the North East, don’t sleep on the North east or you’ll get a wakeup call” Said another competitor.
For those of you who are laughing to yourselves about how these silly video games can be considered a competitive sport, I dare you to pick up a controller and try to play these games for yourself. They’re certainly not easy, and these people have spent countless hours practicing to get to the level they’re on. It’s big business: a recent League of Legends tournament received more viewers than the 2013 world series.
Below: Proving Grounds 2017 Trailer