Epic Games hosted a 50-team, 100-person invitational event during the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) on Tuesday in Los Angeles for its popular game Fortnite. Participants included the likes of NBA players Paul George, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Terrence Ross and Reggie Jackson, UFC fighters Sean O'Malley, Demetrious Johnson and Tyron Woodley, Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen and a slew of other celebrities and professional gamers.
In the end, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, one of Fortnite and Twitch's most popular streamers, and his partner DJ Marshmello, won the main event and split a $1 million prize donated to charities of their choice.
The Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am was the first Epic Games-sponsored esports event, less than a month after the developer committed $100 million in prize money to events for the game. The event was held at the Banc of California Stadium, the home of MLS team the LAFC, which opened in April.
Each celebrity was paired with a professional gamer, streamer or gaming influencer; these participants ranged from a background of a number of games, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and, of course, Fortnite. From there, all 100 players were dropped into the same server, as the teams of two battled to eliminate each other, until the final team was left standing.
Other celebrities competing in the event included rappers Desiigner, Lil Yachty, Vince Staples, PARTYNEXTDOOR and Ty Dolla $ign, WWE wrestler Xavier Woods, EDM artists Dillon Francis and Arty, and actors like Chandler Riggs, Joel McHale as well as other influencers like Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag and Imane "pokimane" An.
In March, Ninja, rappers Drake and Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster streamed themselves playing Fortnite and broke a Twitch record for concurrent viewers on an individual streamers channel, with over 628,000 people tuning in. Other events, like one hosted by Ninja and Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas in April, OpTic Arena in June and others have attracted a significant amount of players and viewers alike. In May, Fortnite was the highest-viewed game on Twitch, with a total of 127.9 million hours consumed by viewers, according to Statista.
According to Epic, the game had over 45 million players in January. And the game held a 16.3 percent market share among its competitors in the widely-popular battle royale game genre, more than Battlegrounds or H1Z1, according to data aggregated by Newzoo in March. The game is available to play on Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and iOS.