Freelance: Rocket League— The Next Big eSport?
It’s official—professional video game players specializing in the Rocket League title, a game that is a cross between rocket-powered cars in a demolition derby and a traditional soccer video game, have reached their highest platform to date. Players will now have the chance to medal at the action sports mecca that is known world-wide— the X-Games.
Making History: The X-Games Announcement and a Tournament Television Deal
Per various sources, Rocket League has been added to the 2017 X-Games, which take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium starting on July 13 and running through July 16. Broadcasts of Rocket League will be shown beginning on July 14 on ESPN3.
“The X Games and ESPN have done a great job of bringing attention to nontraditional sports over the years,” Esports manager of Rocket League’s developer, Psyonix , Josh Watson said yesterday (July 29.) “Adding esports and Rocket League to that lineup is something we at Psyonix are very excited about.
The deal came together following talks between the X-Games crew and the United Kingdom’s FACEIT, a UK-based tournament platform and event organizer, an organization that also just recently played a significant role in Rocket League’s new deal with NBC Sports. The X-Games esports portion will have a $75,000 prize pool.
This arrangement with the X-Games, home to what were once thought to be misfit action sports like skateboarding, motocross, BMX, snowboarding and more has been received with a lot of positivity as this is not their first venture into the world of esports. The X-Games had previously hosted Call of Duty tournaments in connection with Major League Gaming, but the addition of Rocket League puts the sport-focus back on their gaming ventures.
The event will go down at the X-Games festival village featured alongside interactive skateboarding, various musical acts, BMX courses, art installations and more.
As far as NBC Sports goes though, that pending tournament has millions of dollars invested in it and will reportedly not be limited to professional gamers, but a vast audience spanning the U.S. and Europe. Qualifiers will begin in July with regional television coverage following suit during weekends in August with a final broadcast being shown in the U.S. and a number of countries abroad through the national network.
This tournament will have a prize pool of $100,000.
Understanding Rocket League’s Growth as an eSport
How to win is simple enough: Use your high-powered automobile to force an oversized ball into matching goals, doing your best to incapacitate opponents by using boost and destructive tactics. Players can also play hockey or basketball. Games are also traditionally short at just five minutes in length with a sudden-death overtime occurring in the event of a tie after a regulation game has ended.
The game has seen a jump in popularity after aligning itself as an advertising partner with major sports brands including the professional wrestling powerhouse that is the WWE. The organization will put on it’s next pay-per-view event in July with Rocket League serving as its primary sponsor. The game currently has 32 million players worldwide.
The RLCS and RLCS Season Betting
The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) was held last month and did around three million hours of total viewership on the video game streaming website Twitch, betting out the long-time king of esports, League of Legends (LoL) by a staggering one million views.
*An RLCS season is five weeks in length with top six teams across North America (NA) and Europe (EU) advancing onto regional championships (four teams for Oceanic or OE regions) while action between NA and EU also includes “Mid-Season Mayhem Events. NA and EU will then send four teams (two for OE) to the World Championships to be crowned the overall champion.*
Following the release of the “carball” game in 2015, 2016 was a big year for the title, having 25 million players globally at the time of a January 19 report by The Esports Observer. During the same year, the RLCS was introduced with the first season concluding last summer with a $75,000 prize pool. iBuyPower Cosmic (players Kronovi, Lachinio, and OverZero) took the win.
It was reported by TEO that more than a billion matches have been played with half of those being competitive. A second season of the RLCS was quickly announced. The tournament then underwent a format change to that of a single-qualifier event and the prize pool was then also upped to $250,000.
This is a far cry from how things had been done: crowd funded community tourneys over Twitch and other streaming services.
Season four of the RLCS will see the use of locked in spots for its teams as the top two players in both the NA and EU regional championships will automatically earn the right to compete in the following season.
Rocket League is reported to be so successfully thanks to its large community and the RLCS is no different as it is completely open, fielding 6,000 with over 18,000 players along with also doing something no other title has ever done: allowing for cross-network gameplay.while Xbox and Playstation users cannot go cross network at this time, PC users can cross with either.
Psyonix is simply waiting to get the okay for an Xbox-PS connection from Sony and when they do, the feature will reportedly be working “in less than a business day.”) It was also revealed at this year’s E3 that the game will also be coming to Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch as well as the Linux computer operating system (OS) in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Betting on eSports: So, What’s the Big Deal?
Think of the world of sports (in this case esports) as any other business venture—it started out like a small business and is just now picking up enough steam to get noticed by mainstream corporate America. Major events have even been held at “the world’s most famous arena” in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
In fact, the reason that the NBC Sports arrangement is happening is because an NBC Sports executive acknowledged that the popularity of esports as a whole could no longer be ignored.
Prior to this deal and the one with the X-Games, North American players were severely behind their European counterparts, who play for the 3-on-3 Gfinity cups on Friday nights.
What does this mean for you? The more professionally it is viewed by the rest of the world, the more seriously esports will be promoted as a betting option by leading sportsbooks. You can even bet freely through Bovada right now! Other options also include MyBookie.ag, Bookmaker.eu, and BetOnline.
How Betting on Rocket League Works
The odds for this new esport are fairly simple. If the odds on a competitor to win have them as a 4:1 favorite as is the case in the example made on SickOdds.com, if you put down $20, the result of a win for you would be $80 in return.
However, betting is more challenging in this game than in others because after each goal, players re-spawn at center-field a.k.a nuetral ground.