When you mention “sports” and “Las Vegas” in the same sentence, a few ideas take prominence: boxing, mixed martial arts, and betting on all the other sports that don’t take place in Vegas. IGN would like to add something to that: eSports.
IGN Entertainment announced a deal Wednesday with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to bring professional gaming to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time in April 2012. The inaugural event, IGN Pro League 4 or IPL 4, will feature Korea’s Global StarCraft League Finals (GSLF), the final event amongst professional StarCraft II players. It will mark the first time this competition has ever been held outside of Korea.
“We are very glad to have this chance to make eSports history again, this time with IPL in Las Vegas. We believe that this partnership will elevate the world of eSports to another level,” said Jung Won Chae, Director of the Global StarCraft League. The GSLF has routinely pulled in 20,000 live attendees and over 300,000 online viewers, and matches the viewership of “traditional” sports in Korea.
“eSports is on a trajectory to become the next mainstream form of entertainment,” said David Ting, IGN Entertainment’s General Manager of eSports and Vice President of Research & Development, “and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with a forward-thinking partner like The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to bring eSports and its passionate fan base to Las Vegas.” The first live IPL event was hosted at Caesars Atlantic City; over 12 million online viewers watched professional gamers vie for a $120,000 prize pool. IPL 1 and 2 were held online.
The Cosmopolitan, which brands itself on being “just the right amount of wrong,” sees the partnership as yet another way to offer something no one else can offer in Las Vegas. “The IGN Pro League tournaments are very unique and just another way in which we evolve our entertainment and guest experiences,” remarked Lisa Marchese, Chief Marketing Officer at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. “The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is excited to be at the forefront of the eSports phenomenon and serve as its Las Vegas headquarters.”
The resort has built a reputation for unique experiences, including restauranteurs found nowhere else on the Strip, outdoor boxing events on their high-above-the-Boulevard Boulevard Pool, and unique rotation of musical acts, which have ranged from Adele to Stevie Wonder to a before-they-were-stars Foster The People. In fact, they have put so much faith into the eSports movement that they are already scheduling IPL 5 for sometime in August.
IPL 4 will be held April 6-8 in Las Vegas with tickets starting at $25 for general admission. VIP packages will be offered at $175, and will include front-row seating, an IPL t-shirt, and a limited edition IPL 4 poster created and signed by artist Alvin Lee.
For more information or tickets, visit www.ign.com/ipl. For a video from the IGN Pro League giving a brief look at what professional gaming is all about, click here.