NHL Looks To Expand Team Involvement In Esports Tourney
The inaugural NHL Gaming World Championship was held in Las Vegas in June, and while the league has "no plans to start something like the NBA 2K League, it does have plans to get every team involved next year," according to Arash Markazi of ESPN.com. At some point in the near future, there are "plans to move toward a six-versus-six game rather than one-versus-one." NHL VP/Digital Chris Golier said, "In year one, we wanted to be prudent and approach this cautiously. We needed to test and learn, and we did that in a number of different scenarios from the content and promotion. In year two, we're going to invite our clubs in. It's not going to be a full-blown league, but we're going to have teams participate in some way, shape or form. We're going to have locally activated tournaments that will be part of the overall construct of the league. The clubs are excited." Markazi noted the goal of the NHL's involvement in esports is to "get a younger demographic playing the video game and, in the process, get them to become fans of the actual NHL." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "We want to use esports to build more interest and a greater connectivity to our game through the hockey video game. It's complementary." The goal is for that connection between the players of the game and NHL players and teams to "continue to grow next year and in the coming years, as the league moves toward each team having its own esports team comprised of six players" (ESPN.com, 7/10).
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