The Yale eSports Club announced last week that it would be hosting a virtual 12-hour charity stream to help raise money for COVID-19 related efforts in partnership with several prominent professional esports teams.
Yale eSports events director Lucy Liu ’21 told the News that the stream will be of a League of Legends tournament against the other Ivy League schools, MIT and Stanford. The club will partner with three prominent professional esports teams — Team SoloMid, Team Liquid and FlyQuest — who will contribute with advertising, match donations, and giveaways. Gameplay will be broadcast on Yale’s Twitch channel and simulcast by Columbia’s esports club as games are expected to overlap.
The stream will start at 10 a.m. Pacific with group stage matches before moving into a double elimination eight-team bracket. Given the duration of the event, teams will be allowed to rotate players every match to ensure competitors are not worn down by the end.
“This is the first time the Ivy League has banded together in an esports context,” Liu said. “For this particular event, we kind of realized that in these times, when typical sports can no longer happen, esports has to rise to the occasion to bring people together and in celebration of athletics and competition.”
Columbia sophomore Leonardo Arvan, who manages the school’s League of Legends team, said the main goal of the event is for everyone to have fun and raise money for a great cause.
Both he and Liu hoped that the stream would also help expand the community of esports players and watchers.
“There are always these subgoals in the sense of raising awareness of esports,” Arvan said. “The media, especially recently in these past years, has really been pumping up esports. ESPN even broadcasted esports, so awareness is steadily rising for sure.”
Liu and Arvan both also expressed excitement about the partnerships with professional teams. They reached out to a number of organizations and the three participants were the most enthusiastic.
“We wanted [the event] to reach as wide of an audience as possible so we can get as many donations as we can,” Liu said. “We thought the best way to do that would be to reach out to organizations that we thought would be able to have that impact on our event.”
Aside from matching donations, Team SoloMid has also donated 10 limited-edition white jerseys and five signed mousepads to give away at important donation thresholds. Liu, Arvan and their Ivy League peers were also able to secure two members of the Team Liquid Academy to participate in a Q&A during gameplay breaks.
Both Liu and Arvan played a role in securing these partnerships and expressed gratitude about the professional teams’ willingness to participate.
“It is nice to see that they’re willing to support,” Arvan said.
Arvan expressed hope that many would tune in. Many of the participating players are highly ranked, he said, including some in the top 1 percent or top 1000 worldwide. He hoped this could also help launch esports’ popularity on campuses.
“The first time you see it, it might be exciting or not. But you only understand and see what is actually going on in the plays and how difficult things are when you get more used to it,” Arvan said. “If you give it more of a time you will really see how difficult [it is], the passion, and what the players put themselves through.”
The charity event will accept donations through the website Tiltify. The money will be donated to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 fund.
Nader Granmayeh | firstname.lastname@example.org