Rocket League: eSports and TV Debut
Rocket League has been a smash hit for quite some time now! Who would’ve thought that a soccer game with slick cars and cool arenas would leave a thumbprint in the gaming industry? Besides, its eSports scene is starting to pick up and headed toward mainstream success in a big way.
Backed By Millions
According to Psyonix, Rocket League has over 25 million players, and Sony has put a label in the game as the most downloads in the PSN Store last year (2016). In fact, Rocket League was on the Platinum Tier of Valve’s top 100 grossing games of 2016. Ever since the game came out in July 2015, there have been over a billion matches, 50% ranked as competitive.
Leagues of Their Own
With a big player base and the continuous support for the game, it makes perfect sense for an eSports scene to capitalize. In fact, eSports already has one even though it’s not as popular compared to DoTA 2 and League of Legends. Rocket League could eventually get to the top podium in eSports. If you find that hard to believe, maybe 2016’s two seasons of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) should be enough to convince you.
- Season 1: had a prize pool of $75,000.
- Season 2: the RLCS put the pedal to the medal with a prize pool of $250,000. The event attracted a few eSports teams to take some players under their wing, bringing it one step closer to becoming a bigger spectacle, and a better-structured eSports league. More importantly, season two brought a whopping 6,000 teams (about 18,000 players, substitutes not included), thanks to season one’s popularity and season two’s organization and open format.
Other than the RLCS, Rocket League is blossoming. There are community-organized competitions mainly funded by the fans (except the Gfinity cups, a 3-on-3 event that happens every Friday in Europe). North America, on the other hand, doesn’t have a league outside of RLCS that’s big as Gfinity despite the region’s community tournament scene being large like its European counterpart. In fact, the letters “EU is better than NA” has become a running joke, a meme to Rocket League fans.
A Televised Spectacle
The eSports scene has also started to break out of its “for gamers, by gamers” niche, and onto mainstream channels. Rocket League has partnered up with National Broadcasting Channel (NBC), a major American television broadcaster for the game’s TV debut. The partnership is a significant milestone not only in the Rocket League history but also in eSports as a whole since Rocket League is the first eSports game to get picked up by NBC. All right, now grab a pen and mark these dates on your calendar:
- July 22: Rocket League’s first event on NBC is a 2v2 tournament, which first starts on FACEIT, an online gaming platform.
- August 5-6 and August 12-13: the regional finals will show on NBC Sports regional networks across the U.S and various social media platforms.
- August 26-27: the Grand Finals will broadcast on NBC Sports U.S., including Syfy (a channel on American cable TV). Also, the event will air on Telemundo: a popular Spanish television network specifically for Latino/Hispanics.
From humble beginnings and small community tournaments to a spectacle with airtime from a major TV station (NBC), Rocket League’s eSports scene looks like it’s blasting off to new heights. July and August are big months for Rocket League. Stay tuned!