Aspen Winter X Games adds video-game tournament to its menu
The Aspen Times
A new event has been added to the upcoming Winter X Games in Aspen, but it won’t involve athletes pushing their limits outdoors. Instead, it will feature gamers pushing PC buttons indoors.
X Games title sponsor ESPN, along with Major League Gaming, announced this week that the new offering — MLG X Games Aspen Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Invitational — will be held as part of the Jan. 23 to 25 event.
Just like the athletes who earn medals for their high-flying feats, medals will be awarded to members of the winning teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, a multiplayer PC video game pitting teams of terrorists and counterterrorists against each other.
Teams will compete inside a tent that will be erected in front of the Inn at Aspen, located at the base of Buttermilk, said Tim Reed, ESPN X Games vice president of events and content. While there is no admission fee to the Winter X Games, the video-game tourney will command $100 per person.
The gaming invitational is part of an ongoing effort by the X Games to expand its content for a broadening audience, Reed said.
“We’ve always had sports as the main component, and it still remains the backbone,” Reed said. “But we want to provide a broader range of content and experience for our fans. Bringing in things like gaming or music are obviously a part of the youth lifestyle.”
Aspen will be the second X Games venue for a gaming tournament. At this year’s Summer X Games in Austin, Texas, ESPN and MLG partnered to put on an invitational tournament for the game Call of Duty: Ghosts.
In Aspen, there will be eight teams composed of five members. MLG spokeswoman Katie Goldberg said the event is expected to draw a few hundred people, which includes the gamers, spectators and staff. She noted that “hundreds of thousands more” spectators are expected to watch the competition on MLG.tv.
“Our fan base was really electrified with the idea of having MLG competitions at the X Games and having our pro players earn X Games medals in Austin, where it was a tremendous success,” MLG President and co-founder Mike Sepso told ESPN. “We’re thrilled to announce that Austin wasn’t a one-off.”
Reed said it’s too early to tell if the gaming event will be a permanent fixture at the Winter X Games.
“It will be good to see how it all plays out,” Reed said. “Year in and year out, we try to evolve with the content offering. It changes year to year, but we’re keeping the X Games name fresh and unique.”
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