It’s only fitting that Australia’s spiritual home of sport should play host to the country’s largest esports event too. In just over a week an expected ten thousand plus esports fans a day will descend upon Melbourne & Olympic Park to be a part of the inaugural Melbourne Esports Open (MEO).
Spearheaded by esports production giant ESL and event management team TEGLive the Victorian Government backed event is expected to generate upwards of $25 million to the local economy over the next five years.
Held over the first weekend of September the MEO is headlined by a final series for two of the world’s biggest and most popular esport gaming titles, Overwatch and League of Legends (LoL).
Each will have their time on the event’s main stage, a newly refitted Rod Laver Arena, but form only a part of the event with a gaming expo and open-to-all competitions being held in the adjacent Margaret Court Arena.
The event kicks off with the finals for Blizzard’s Australia & New Zealand Overwatch Contenders series. The competition, which invites amateur teams to compete in the hopes of turning pro, is down to the final four and includes Melbourne’s own ORDER whom will no doubt be looking to take advantage of some hometown support.
Sunday will be headlined by the Oceanic Pro League Grand Final for the wildly popular esport title League of Legends. After choosing to not hold a live event for their finals series last year LoL publisher Riot Games have heard the outcry of fans and committed to partnering with MEO for the coming years.
“2017 lacked a stadium Grand Final which was disappointing to our fans…” said Daniel Ringland, Head of Oceanic Esports for Riot Games, “The MEO solves for that in a sustainable, annual event [that] I’m thrilled to be able to deliver our fans a stadium event in Melbourne for the next five years.”
Meanwhile, in Margaret Court Arena, a series of seperate events will be taking place and anyone who’s attending is encouraged to enter. Open tournaments will be held in Forza 7, Overwatch (3 vs 3), Minecraft, Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros 4, Pokemon and more.
MC’d on a central stage with its own production, stream and crew the open styled tournaments, whilst also including modest prize money, have been designed to showcase the inclusive and welcoming world of esports to families.
“The concept is to try and make an event where, yes there’s a big professional esports tournament taking place, but there’s also a more grassroots community focused set of activities in a very family friendly, inclusive environment too,” says tournament organiser and Managing Director or ESL Australia, Nick Vanzetti.
It also serves as one of the MEO’s point of differences from its Sydney sister-event the “Intel Extreme Masters” or IEM as its more commonly known, which is also run by ESL.
The same area will also include a free-to-play showcase area called the “Game On Zone” where tournament sponsor JB HiFi and publishers will be exhibiting upcoming and current titles that many may not have had the opportunity to have played before.
If you’d like more information about the event or details on the competitions being held, visitthe MEO website at https://www.melbourneesportsopen.com.au. You can also follow the event’s official Twitter & Facebook accounts for updates as they happen.
Tickets to the Melbourne Esports Open are available now and can be purchased from ticketek.com.au. Single day ground passes start from $24.90 for juniors or $34.90 for adults. Family passes (2 children, 2 adults) are also available for $94.90 as well as two day weekend passes. For the die-hard fans premium seating packages for Rod Laver’s final series tournaments with reserved seating closer to the action are also available.