NBC Sports Group and FACEIT‘s “Universal Open” esports tournament, featuring Psyonix’s hit sports-action game Rocket League, has entered its second week of action with almost 2,000 teams having registered so far.
The Universal Open is a 2v2 tournament which utilises FACEIT’s competitive gaming platform, as well as assets from NBCUniversal and Comcast. The Open marks NBC’s first ever esports competition, and gives players a shot at competing for a $100,000 (£76,600) prize pool. The premier attempt appears to be enjoying a warm welcome from the Rocket League community, which now eclipses 34 million players.
Senior Vice President of NBC Sports Ventures Rob Simmelkjaer has been pleased with the competition’s reception, stating that “the overwhelming amount of participation in the Universal Open has exceeded our expectations.” With preparations underway for the Regional and Grand Finals in August, Rob added that the organisers have been “encouraged by the response” from the game’s community.
The tournament is open to all residents of the United States and Canada, and is currently amidst a series of online Qualifiers which are organized geographically by the NBC Sports Regional Networks. This week’s competition kicked off with New York and New England Qualifiers taking place yesterday, and Chicago Qualifiers being held today. Tomorrow sees the action head to the Northwest and Bay Area.
The next step is the Regional stage, where the top competitors from qualification will enter live competition. Select NBC Sports Regional Networks studios will host the games on the weekends of August 5-6 and August 12-13. NBC will make ample use of their broadcast platforms for the games, with live streaming taking place on social media and the NBC Sports and Telemundo En Vivo apps; portions of the show will also see live television coverage through the NBC Sports Regional Networks.
The tournament then culminates in a two-day Grand Finals at the Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California. The sixteen teams that survive both the grueling qualification and regional stages will attempt to seize a chunk of the prize money one month from now, on August 26-27.
Esports Insider says: Since its release two years ago, hype has been steadily building for Rocket League in the world of esports. With more than 150 “Game of the Year” awards or nominations in that time, its clear that the world is ready to see more of the game’s vehicular mayhem on the competitive stage; to that end, this tournament – and NBC’s coverage – provides a great platform.