March Madness is a big deal for basketball fans, and now there is more to get excited about according to Mountain West Conference. The MWC stated Monday, February 12, 2018, that they would sponsor an eSports tournament to compliment the March Madness basketball tournaments at UNLV. The Las Vegas tournaments are a huge deal, and with eSports increasing in popularity it makes sense to offer a new event.
The MWC says it will be called the MW eSports Showdown. It is the first time such a tournament is offered and will offer various titles, which match the traditional college sports games.
Boise and UNLV are going to be a part of the event. They will be in Overwatch, League of Legends and Rocket League starting March 8th and ending on the 10th. The basketball tournament is from March 5th to the 9th, with the men’s games March 7th through the 10th. The basketball games are in Las Vegas, as well as the eSports tournaments.
Statements from Mountain West Conference
Commissioner Craig Thompson told media the conference is willing to try different, new concepts and are happy the University presidents are also willing to let eSports be a part of March Madness. eSports is a global concept that is allowing plenty of young people compete in something they enjoy. Several students on the UNLV and Boise campuses enjoy eSports. The universities are also seeing more programming, business, and technology added to their curriculum regarding eSports considering its rise in popularity.
Where and When
The eSports tournaments will happen at the Strip View Pavilion on March 8th and 9th. The main event will occur between Boise and Las Vegas on the 10th at the Cox Pavilion. The eSports competition is going to be broadcast via Twitch. The beginning matches are free for those who are attending the March Madness events; however, there will be special tickets for the main event. Pricing has not been made available yet; however, for those who will be at the games or in Las Vegas during this time, it will be easy enough to figure out how and where to get tickets.
Boise has a varsity eSports program run by Chris Haskell, as part of the National Association of Collegiate eSports. The Mountain West Tournament is another place for the varsity team to have a chance to show their skills and provide validity to eSports as it increases in popularity in and out of universities.