Virtual driving will be an attraction at the new esports lounge at the NASCAR event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.

Mountain West Hoops Tourney, NASCAR Race Weekend Feature eSports in March



Another sports event in Las Vegas, another chance for eSports to piggyback for the ride.


When the big boys of car racing motor into town next month for a NASCAR weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, fans will get a chance to check out a new eSports lounge at the Speedway’s Neon Garage facility in the Speedway’s infield.


The eSports lounge will be equipped with several Dream Racing’s driving simulators so that NASCAR fans can get a feel of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a virtual race car and turn laps on the screen.


Neon Garage pass holders can strap into the race car simulator and play the NASCAR Heat 2 video game before they enjoy the real racing on the track during the March 2-4 weekend. It’s the first of two NASCAR weekends this year as a second NASCAR event debuts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the fall.


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The eSports lounge is just one example of a sports event in Las Vegas serving as the backdrop for eSports action.


The Mountain West Conference is hosting something called the MW eSports Showdown in conjunction with the Mountain West basketball tournament being held at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in March.


UNLV’s eSports expert Robert Rippee is leading the UNLV eSports program.


The MW eSports Showdown will feature eSports teams from Boise State and UNLV competing in three popular eSports games: League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch. League of Legends was developed and published by Riot Sports; Rocket League by Psyonix; and Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment.


Boise State and UNLV don’t just have basketball teams. The two universities’  eSports teams, each consisting of up to 15 participants, will compete in exhibitions March 8 and 9 in the Strip View Pavilion inside Thomas & Mack Center, followed by the MW eSports Showdown Main Event March 10 in Cox Pavilion.


UNLV’s Robert Rippee, director of the Hospitality Lab and eSports Lab at the International Gaming Institute, spoke with last month on the rise of eSports in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International is also re-purposing a night club in the Luxor into an eSports arena.


Admission to these exhibition Show Matches is free for ticketholders to the Mountain West Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, while ticket pricing and availability for the Main Event will be announced in the coming weeks.


The Mountain West has a press release on the eSports MW competition.




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Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle. In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for called After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent. Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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