Canadian League of Gamers Launches Northern Arena E-Sports League in Canada

Up-and-coming organization, the Canadian League of Gamers recently announced that it has partnered with FAN EXPO — the Toronto-based geek culture convention that draws the attendance of hundreds of thousands annually — to bring Canadians their first ever professional esports league.

The “Northern Arena” as dubbed by CLG will consist of both live events and online qualifiers. Starting September 1, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, as part of the Fan Expo celebration, Nothern Arena will host their first large-scaled gaming tournament. With a national grand finals in the fall, located in Montreal.

“Canada has some of the most passionate gamers in the world,” said Carl-Edwin Michel, the visionary behind Northern Arena and cofounder of the Canadian League of Gamers. “Connecting Northern Arena with the audiences at Fan Expo and working with Vantrix is a perfect fit. I can’t wait to press play with Canadian and international gaming elite and kick off Northern Arena’s 2016 competitions.”

Throughout the year, gamers will be able to partake in online tournaments, as well as spectate the competitions.

“Esports is exploding with interest and becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the world,” says Greg Spievak, Co-Founder of the Canadian League of Gamers. “eSports already has millions of established fans worldwide and an estimated potential to generate over $1 billion in 2016, so we’re excited to tap into this market and foster its huge potential here in Canada.”

Games will be played on PC, Console, and the hastily spiking popular Mobile games.

The goal CLG is setting out to accomplish is to bring both pro and amateur gamers together within a league that will deliver, to the players, a structured, and well-managed platform that will promote eSports worldwide. Focused on a Canadian slant, obviously.

Alongside the live events, and online qualifiers, Northern Arena will also host BringYourOwnComputer LAN competitions around the country.

So far, it looks like the competitions aren’t going to come out west — even though it’s mentioned in the subject line of the press release — but I’m sure that will change with the growing popularity.

If you’re in Toronto this September, be sure to stop by Norther Arena’s inaugural live-event co-hosted by Fan Expo.

Personally, I am excited about the announcement on two fronts. One, an organization may finally be putting out the proper product in regards to Canadian eSports. And two, there will be more tournaments for Canadian gamers to participate in. There’s a long, and beautiful history of competitive gaming in Canada, yet no organization of our own. The birth of CLG and Northern Arena will allow more expertly skilled teams to develop. Just see UBC, and what their collegiate League of Legends team is doing.

Spoiler alert: they’re taking over the world.

 

Fans fill up stadiums and tune in from all over the world as they cheer on their favorite competitors in a test of strategic thinking, quick reflexes, and teamwork. This is not a description of a basketball or football game but rather an accurate reflection of the e-sports phenomenon gripping the globe.

Many may be tempted to dismiss e-sports as a passing fad. After all, it’s only about video games, right? That line of thinking, however, would fail to understand just what kind of growth e-sports has seen in only the past decade. The e-sports movement has quickly turned into a juggernaut, one to rival some of the most established leagues and competitions in the world. It’s a force that won’t go away anytime soon, and the numbers appear to back it up.

The very concept of e-sports hasn’t been around for very long. Competitive video game leagues first cropped up in the late 90s and early 2000s and were very humble beginnings from the get go. The Electronic Sports League (ESL), for example, got its start in 1997. Major League Gaming was founded back in 2002. Compare that with the likes of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, and it’s clear that e-sports is the new kid on the block, and yet in such a short amount of time, competitive gaming has made some major strides. It’s bigger than you might think.

Take the most recent tournament for the popular computer game League of Legends. Every year, a worldwide tournament is held to crown the best League of Legends team. Last year, more than 35 million people streamed the finals, a big jump from the previous year. To put that in perspective, that’s more people watching League of Legends than such notable sporting events like the NBA Finals, the Masters, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup Finals. In fact, only the Super Bowl gets more viewers, in terms of sports competitions. Whole stadiums get sold out as people come to watch the top players show their talents.

The numbers from tournaments and international events are only the tip of the iceberg. More than 110 million people around the world consider themselves hardcore fans of e-sports. Even more—nearly 150 million—say they occasionally view e-sports events. This has lead to a huge boom in business for the e-sports industry, which was predicted to receive more than $250 million in revenues in 2015, a new milestone.

As a consequence, the best players in the world can now earn a living playing video games. Some have even become celebrities and millionaires. Big money prizes are given to the winners of international tournaments. Dota 2 featured a prize pool of $5 million to the winning team. In other words, this isn’t chump change we’re talking about here. Serious money is up for grabs.

So why has e-sports taken off so impressively? Video games have certainly been popular before, so what’s the difference now? Much of e-sports’ growth can be attributed to the advances in technology, not just in online gaming but in the various new platforms available.

Twitch is a video streaming service where many gamers stream their gaming experiences live to viewers. Some streams can get more than 100,000 viewers on at once, and with tens of millions of potential viewers, Twitch has become a go-to platform for competitive and casual gaming. It’s no wonder Amazon recently bought Twitch for nearly a billion dollars. YouTube has also been instrumental in the rise of e-sports. Many players post their videos of their gaming exploits. Some of the most popular YouTube channels are centered on gaming, and gaming channels feature more than 80 million followers. Combine that with the data analytics tools that can target specific audiences, and video platforms can now reach gamers from all over the world.

Predicting what the future holds for e-sports is a bit tricky. The growth will likely continue as the industry becomes more legitimized in the eyes of advertisers and sponsors, but as for how much growth we’ll see, it’s too early to tell. The truth is that v doesn’t rely on traditional media outlets, geek culture has become mainstream, and businesses see a lot of money in appealing to the younger e-sports demographic.

The past decade may just be the opening salvo in what could be a dominant run for the e-sports industry.