Football and basketball better watch out because there’s a new sporting event coming to Columbus.
Major League Gaming is set to host the MLG Championship at the greater Columbus Convention Center Friday through Sunday.
MLG is the No. 1 professional gaming outlet in America. It hosts professional video game tournaments and organizes leagues of professional gamers for competitive play.
“MLG is the global leader in pro gaming,” said Katie Goldberg, senior vice-president of communications for MLG.
The Columbus tournament is set to feature professional competitions in two different games, “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” the latest game in the popular first person shooter series, and “Dota 2,” a team-based online multiplayer battle arena-style game.
The “Call of Duty: Ghosts” competition is scheduled to feature professional “Call of Duty” teams from around North America competing for a $50,000 cash prize pool, and the team who comes in first will win $20,000. This competition is to be the first time the newest “Call of Duty” game will be played professionally in a competitive environment, according to the championship’s website. The competition is set to host 8 pro teams with sponsors and 12 local teams.
The “Call of Duty: Ghosts” competition is also slated to feature an open bracket competition in which non-professionals can join in on the gaming and even compete for the cash prize.
“A lot of people from the Columbus area will be there to play,” Goldberg said.
In addition to the competition, Infinity Ward and Activision are also set to unveil some new features of the game.
“Dota 2” competition is to feature a variety of international teams competing for a cash prize of more than $110,000, according to the championship’s website. Goldberg said it will be the first international event for the game.
“We will have teams from France, Korea and North America (remotely),” Goldberg said.
While the idea of a professional gaming event might seem strange to some, MLG is attempting to popularize the concept by following in the footsteps of professional sports.
“You can forget everything you’ve ever thought of an event occurring at a convention center,” Goldberg said. “Everything we do is modeled after pro sports.”
MLG has done so by enforcing team-based competition, encouraging fans to watch online and by adopting an ESPN-style broadcaster to provide commentary on its competitions, Goldberg said.
This format has garnered MLG’s millions of fans.
“We usually have between four and six million people watch online over the weekend,” Goldberg said. “All eyes will be on Columbus that weekend.”
Goldberg went on to say that this year’s MLG event in Columbus, the ninth time it’s held an event in Ohio’s capital, promises to be one of the largest MLG events.
“We’re expecting this to be either the biggest or second largest MLG event ever,” Goldberg said.
Some Ohio State students thought the prospect of a professional gaming event coming to Columbus was interesting.
“I’ll have to tell my roommates about that, they’re huge (Call of Duty) fans,” said Kurt Lang, a fourth-year in welding engineering.
However, other students didn’t seem as thrilled.
“I like video games, but I’m not into just watching,” said Colin Freed, a fourth-year in business logistics management. “I know what MLG is but I’m not into watching it.”
Passes to the event are $35 online through MGL’s website and can be purchased for $50 at the door. The event is also set to be streamed online.