Professional eSports Company ESL Postpones 2020 Tournament, Along With $1M Purse

Professional eSports Company ESL Postpones 2020 Tournament, Along With $1M Purse

Professional eSports competitors vying for the $1 million purse that was to be awarded at this weekend's ESL One Los Angeles 2020 tournament had to hit the pause button when their event at the Shrine Auditorium was postponed due to the coronavirus. But the amateurs slated to compete in the undercard ESL Mobile Open, presented by AT&T, will still have their shot at gaming glory.

They'll just have to compete from their homes, and without a live audience.

The finalists have been competing since the qualification stage of play at the beginning of this year. The ensuing playoff round will culminate with this weekend's championship. ESL, which will provide analysis and color commentary for online viewers, is a German company founded in 2000 that operates and produces eSports competitions and leagues for numerous game publishers.

Competitors will be playing Clash of Clans, Asphalt 9: Legends, Dota Underlords and PUBG Mobile. The ESL Mobile Open will be completing its fourth season. The first three seasons reportedly yielded more than 600,000 registrations, with over $330,000 in prize money awarded. According to sources, ESL will distribute $400,000 to successful teams over the next three seasons.

Onlookers will find the viewership data for this weekend's event an interesting barometer of two ongoing eSports trends.

First is how viewing habits are evolving in real time amid the coronavirus fallout. With professional sports leagues gone dark, eSports has an opportunity to accelerate its growth by bringing in viewers hungry for competitive content.

Second is the trajectory of mobile gaming. The increasingly glamorous world of professional eSports has hitherto been mostly confined to PC-oriented games. Mobile gaming, meanwhile, has been considered more amateurish, with tournaments like ESL Mobile Open viewed as a potential onramp for ambitious gamers hoping to break into the higher ranks. But mobile, sources say, has been gaining prestige among players, fans and gaming companies.

This weekend's event should provide clues about how both of these trends may develop. Game on.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.

As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?

Read more Show less

When the founders who lead the ten young startups selected for the 2020 Techstars LA class begin their three month accelerator program Monday, they won't be gathering in the Mid-Wilshire office and shaking hands as every other class has done. Like the rest of us, they will be working at home because of the coronavirus. Dinners, meetings, socializing, and mentoring sessions will all be online.

"A big part of the magic of the program is the relationships that are from proximity and from everyone working together in the same space and so what we're doing is we're endeavoring to create as much as that connection in the virtual world as possible," said Anna Barber, managing director of Techstars LA.

Read more Show less