Posts for esports

The Philadelphia Union are Getting in on the ESports Thing

Kevin Kinkead - January 12, 2018

The “four for four” Philadelphia sports fan might find both soccer and video games to be incredibly dorky.

And the only thing dorkier is when you combine the two in some way, shape, or form, which is exactly what’s happening in 2018.

Major League Soccer is partnering with EA Sports to create “eMLS,” a competitive FIFA 18 league. This is basically the exact same thing that the NBA is doing with the NBA 2k League, where most of the franchises, Sixers included, will feature a competitive gaming counterpart.

The Union are one of 19 MLS teams involved in the inaugural FIFA league, where hopefully they’ll win a playoff game for the first time ever. According to the press release, “each club will pursue its own process to select a player from its region to represent it in eMLS competitive play.”

I guess that it’s just one player per franchise, so you’d better be damn good if you’re going to represent our hard working, blue collar, lunch pail type of city.

More from the release:

eMLS will feature eMLS Cup, MLS’s elite competitive gaming event, where each club’s pro will vie for an automatic berth in the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs and a chance to be crowned the undisputed FIFA 18 World Champion at the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 taking place in August this year. eMLS Cup will debut this April at PAX East, the enormously popular gaming culture festival in Boston that takes place this year from April 5-8 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

I haven’t played FIFA since 2010 or 2011, when I’d regularly get smoked by 14-year-olds rolling out Barcelona and Chelsea. I tried to compete with random underdog teams, but didn’t do so hot with the likes of Fenerbahce and Atalanta. At least I didn’t pick a cheesy five-star club.

Anyway, the real takeaway here is that another pro league is getting in on the eSports wave. Just this week, the Comcast-owned Philadelphia Fusion began play in the national Overwatch League, and they fucking killed the Houston Outlaws, 3-2.

They even had a bunch of people show up to watch:

Let’s go Fusion! clap clap, clapclapclap

Let’s go Fusion! clap clap, clapclapclap

Sure, Brian Dawkins is one of the toughest Philly athletes of all time, but I wouldn’t want to fuck with these guys:

Let’s Welcome the “76ers Gaming Club”

Kevin Kinkead - December 14, 2017

As you know by now, eSports are the future.

That’s according to frequent Crossing Broad commenter and loyal reader, “ESPORTS ARE THE FUTURE.”

Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment leads the Philadelphia charge on the gaming front and they’re at it again this morning, unveiling the “76ers Gaming Club” as the name of the sister team that will compete in the NBA 2k League that begins play in 2018. The Sixers are one of 17 NBA franchises that will participate in the inaugural campaign, which is structured a lot like an actual pro basketball season.

From the press release:

The first stage of player qualifying for the NBA 2K League will take place online from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31, 2018.  Interested participants must win 50 games in NBA 2K18’s 5-on-5 Pro-Am mode on a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.  Players who meet this requirement and have submitted an online application by Jan. 31, 2018, can be invited to the next round of tryouts in February. In the highly-anticipated NBA 2K League’s first-ever draft, teams will have the opportunity to select their own players who will live and train in-market during the season.

There you go. This is the opportunity to realize your dreams.

The branding and logo is consistent with the league design, which is red, blue, and rather straightforward. The Sixers incorporated Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and shortened “gaming club” to “GC,” like the abbreviation attached to a soccer club.

A.C. Milan / U.C. Sampdoria / Fulham F.C.SS Lazio / CSKA Moscow / etc

Sounds very Euro, yeah?


More from the release:

“We are excited to unveil 76ers GC’s new brand identity as we welcome another dynamic sports property to the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment family,” said Chris Heck, Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations. “Working alongside the NBA 2K League, we developed a brand identity that pays homage to the revolutionary origins of this city, speaks to the new Philadelphia fan and exemplifies the edge of the esports audience.”

If you’re keeping track, HBSE now owns an NBA 2k League team, an Overwatch team, and eSports franchise “Team Dignitas.” That’s in addition to the Sixers, Devils, Prudential Center, Crystal Palace, and two minor league teams.

As for me, I’ve never played NBA 2k, but I did enjoy a lot of success with Detlef Schrempf in NBA Jam.

Does Anyone in Philadelphia Care About eSports?

Kevin Kinkead - November 15, 2017

Too bad eSports wasn’t a thing back in 1995.

I would have been Contra world champion.

Full run, no deaths, no up/up/down/down/left/right/left/right/B/A cheat code. None of that.

Some friends and I used to be in the “National Honor Society” at Boyertown Senior High back in the day. We had a private room where we were supposed to tutor students who needed homework help. I don’t remember doing much tutoring, but we definitely had a Playstation, SNES, and Nintendo 64 hooked up in that closet. Super Mario Kart was played before home room, Twisted Metal 2 was reserved for fourth-period study hall, and I dropped Calculus to free up 8th period for Tekken 3. My asshole friend Jon used to play as Eddy Gordo and button mash.

Video games were just a hobby back then. You played with your friends for fun. We didn’t wear head sets or use microphones or get demolished by organized teams from South Korea. We definitely didn’t watch other people play.

That’s why the eSports thing is fascinating. Comcast Spectacor announced this month that they’re launching a franchise called the “Philadelphia Fusion,” which will share colors with the Flyers and begin playing in the Overwatch League in December. According to a Bloomberg story, Comcast paid a $20 million franchise fee to join the league. Crazy, right?

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Comcast Spectacor is Jumping on the eSports Bandwagon

Kevin Kinkead - November 1, 2017

There’s a Crossing Broad reader named “ESPORTS ARE THE FUTURE” who frequently posts in the comments section.

Maybe he knew something, because Comcast Spectacor announced Wednesday morning that they’re getting into the competitive gaming business with the introduction of the “Philadelphia Fusion.”

That sounds like the name of a minor league hockey team, but it’s not, it’s a professional gaming brand that will begin playing in the “Overwatch League” in December. Overwatch is a modern-day shooter, something like Destiny meets Halo meets the G.O.A.T., Goldeneye 007.

Orange and black will be the Fusion colors, matching their sister club, the Philadelphia Flyers.

From the press release, Comcast Spectacor President and CEO Dave Scott:

“We are thrilled to introduce the Philadelphia Fusion brand and team colors as we continue our exciting march toward the start of the season. Orange and black are colors of passion here in Philadelphia, and we are proud to incorporate them as we continue to formulate our coaching staff and roster of players.”

Expect a coaching staff and roster announcement in the coming weeks. I think they should go for a new and innovative sports science advocate, and not some eSports retread, but that’s just my opinion.

The most interesting thing to me doesn’t have anything to do with gaming, but the fact that Comcast seems to be branching out and buying more sports properties. The company acquired a National Lacrosse League expansion franchise just two months ago. They now own the Flyers, Fusion, (Wings), and the Maine Mariners, a new ECHL team that will begin play in 2018-2019.

That’s similar to the moves made by the recently formed Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the Josh Harris and David Blitzer company that owns the Sixers, Devils, Team Dignitas, Crystal Palace FC, and a couple of minor league teams.