Mountain West championship features esports tournament at UNLV - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Mountain West championship features esports tournament at UNLV

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Off the court, fans were cheering on UNLV as the Rebels took on Boise State during the first-ever Mountain West ESports Showdown. (Kurt Rempe / FOX5) Off the court, fans were cheering on UNLV as the Rebels took on Boise State during the first-ever Mountain West ESports Showdown. (Kurt Rempe / FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Off the court, fans were cheering on UNLV as the Rebels took on Boise State during the first-ever Mountain West ESports Showdown.

"I've done traditional sports; I've played baseball, I was varsity for bowling, I played basketball but nothing fulfills me more than video games," 8-bit President, Milo Ocampo said.

Ocampo said he and other players practice at least 12 hours a day on games like League of Legends, Rocket League and Counter Strike.

"People dedicate their entire lives just to get a tiny bit better. People would put in a 1,000 hours just to master one specific mechanic of the game," Ocampo said. 

The sports tournament is being held in conjunction with the Mountain West men's and women's basketball championships. Organizers said it shows just how popular esports has become in Las Vegas and across the country.

"We're very excited that Vegas in the past year or so has somehow escalated into becoming the most relevant esports city in the United States," David Lee, VP of Operations at ESP Gaming said.

"Everyone is waking up to how big it already is ... when the largest student organization on campus on UNLV is an esports club, that tells you something about the paradigm," Robert Rippee, director of esports at UNLV said.

As these players face off in their team jerseys in front of an audience and commentators, UNLV's esports director Robert Rippee said it all reflects the rapidly evolving world of egaming. 

"We all think 'Oh videogamers, these are all kids in their basement playing video games but you know what they're not. They're professional athletes, they're amateur athletes, they're playing at very high levels, they're playing exciting games at huge fan bases and it's a phenomenon that everyone needs to be aware of," Rippee said.

More esports exhibition matches were scheduled for Friday at the Thomas and Mack Center. 

The big tournament happens Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Cox Pavilion. 

For a full tournament schedule, visit: http://themw.com/sports/2018/2/26/esports.aspx

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