A new Street Fighter league has been announced today by Capcom. Utilising a team format, six teams of 3 players will battle in Street Fighter V, beginning in Spring 2019. Similar to the popular Super Battle Opera (SBO) team tournaments, this marks the return of the format since the last SBO in 2012. Partnering with the Japan Esports Union (JeSU), Capcom will allow both licensed and unlicensed players to participate in the tournament.
Capcom has been notably absent in supporting the fighting game community in Japan, electing to host and sponsor tournaments abroad, including Capcom Cup and EVO. That is mainly due to the laws surrounding competition within Japan, however, since the foundation of the JeSU, Capcom announced its support for the esports scene in 2018 and is now acting on that intent. This signals a promising step forward in showcasing the massive amount of local talent within the Japanese region.
It’s unclear how the players will be chosen, through qualifiers or invites, with more details along with a date coming later. One of the reasons SBO was regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the fighting game community, alongside EVO, was due to the level of talent that attended the tournament. For international viewers, it became a must-watch event, made even more notorious by having to navigate early 2000s Japanese streaming sites to watch a grainy stream. Information was hard to come by, with upsets and comebacks increasing the mystique of a newcomer or veteran.
Esports Insider says: One would hope in this day and age that Capcom would take this opportunity to broadcast a tournament featuring Japanese players with an English cast on an easily accessible website. While tournaments today feature many Japanese players, with players being attached to international organisations like Echo Fox and Red Bull, there are still dozens of undiscovered Japanese players that don’t have the opportunity to travel outside of Japan. The return of the SBO format is a welcome one, but without proper international coverage, would be a missed opportunity.