The Calgary Flames are preparing to host their first eSports tournament, as video gaming grows among pro sports teams.
The tournament, Feb. 16 at Scotiabank Saddledome, will feature 64 players of NHL 19 vying for a shot at a grand prize of a $2,500 Visions gift card and a Calgary Flames jersey.
The Flames organizers will pick 64 participants out of about 250 signups, said Travis Girard, who works for the team in game presentation and events.
“We’re going to put those registrants through a random generator,” he said. “It’s been a great response so far.”
Prizes totalling over $5,000 will be handed out to the top eight competitors as games will be played on Xbox.
Girard said other teams, like the Washington Capitals, have their tournament ongoing now.
“Their format is a little different. They’re doing online qualifiers and flying those winners in to play,” he said, adding the team is hopeful for more similar events in the future.
“It’s very exciting. eSports in general across the world is becoming more and more popular and the Calgary Flames would love to be a part of that.”
The event, driven by the NHL as a whole, is a part of an initiative for organizations to better engage with their markets.
“We’ve been happy to see many of our clubs activate in their local markets in an effort to test and learn this season,” the league said in a statement.
“This will give the clubs an opportunity to understand the ecosystem of esports a little more, learn who their local players are, and learn how to program compelling content to a different audience. The clubs share in the league’s objectives around esports which is to offer another touchpoint to fans through gaming, and expand our reach as we look to grow our game.”
Players must be 14 years old and those who are selected will pay a $75 registration fee. They’ll walk away with a “Chel” showdown jersey with their name on the back, free food and more.
Registration for the event closes at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
Those looking to throw their name in the hat can register at www.calgaryflames.com/chel.