TBS and WME|IMG's esports collaboration, ELeague, will host a Street Fighter V invitational event beginning March 27. ELeague, which hosted first-person shooter game tournaments throughout 2016 and early 2017, is making its first foray into fighting game tournaments with this invitational.
Preliminary rounds make up the first three days of the two-month competition. Twenty four competitors will advance and compete every other week from April 7 into May. Playoffs will conclude on May 26, with a prize pool of $250,000 on the line. Each Friday showing will air on TBS.
"Our fighting games and esports initiatives are extremely important sectors of our business, and partnering with ELeague provides us with an excellent opportunity to deliver the excitement of live Street Fighter V competition to a wider audience," Capcom USA CEO Kiichiro Urata said in a statement. "Teaming up with one of the leaders of live event experiences is another step forward for the Street Fighter brand, and we can't wait for newcomers and long-time fans to see our beloved franchise presented in a new and unique way."
The event will invite 32 of the best Street Fighter V players in the world to compete in Turner Sports' Atlanta ELeague studio. Sixteen of the attendees will be invited based off their 2016 Capcom Pro Tour placement, and the other 16 will receive special invites from Capcom directly.
Barring visa or scheduling issues, Evo 2016 winner Lee "Infiltration" Seon-woo, 2016 Capcom Cup winner Du "Nuckledu" Dang, CEO 2016 winner Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi, Combo Breaker 2016 winner Justin Wong and others will compete.
"Street Fighter has a rich history and an extremely deep and passionate fan base, and we're thrilled to further diversify our ELeague portfolio with this exciting esports title," Turner Sports executive vice president Craig Barry said. "We look forward to bringing a new experience to ELeague and collaborating with Capcom to capture the authenticity of the live event competition while telling a rich narrative surrounding the game, its characters and the players."
TBS and WME|IMG first announced the ELeague venture in late 2015. Beginning in May 2016, the companies held two separate Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leagues with a cumulative $2.4 million prize purse for that season. The partners also held a competitive Overwatch invitational, the Overwatch Open, in the last half of 2016. ELeague most recently put on the first semi-annual Counter-Strike major, the Atlanta Major, in January.