By ALAN SNEL
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.
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.
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 LVSportsBiz.com 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.
Follow LVSportsBiz.com on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com