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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA & MICHAEL CURRAN

Esports to host major Fortnite tournament


The Esports Lab abuzz during their October 20, 2023, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive watch party. Photo courtesy of Mike Davis.

The Esports and Gaming program is preparing to run its first major esports tournament later this semester. On April 13-14, they will host a Fortnite tournament in the esports and gaming lab as well as the surrounding classrooms in the Michael B. Alexander Science and Technology Center.


“We’re definitely trying to like really push the envelope of what the Lasell esports club can really do,” sophomore and Esports President Kiefer Harding said.


The tournament will consist of eight-player lobbies, with the total number of groups varying depending on sign-ups. The first player to win 15 rounds within their lobby will advance to the next stages of the competition. A $200 gift card will be the grand prize, but there will also be a $100 gift card for second place and $25 prizes for the player with the most kills and with the most damage caused.


“A lot of people think they know about us, and then a lot of people don’t even know about us at all on campus,” said junior Mike Davis, an intern for the esports program and project manager on this event.


“It’s not just like a random game, like everybody kind of knows Fortnite so they’re able to come in here and like see how they pair up against the best people of our own community.”


The tournament is the biggest undertaking the esports community has taken in their time. Currently, there is a directed study from Professor Christina Alejandre dividing up the tournament management and promotional activities. The directed study is a diverse group including fashion, higher education management, entrepreneurship, and esports and gaming management majors. 


“This will provide them a holistic view of everything that goes into an event, not just for the players, but also the audience experience,” Alejandre said. “They will run everything from tournament operations, prizing, live event broadcast, marketing, and the event itself.”


“Having it count for credit means that we can invest a lot more time into it and treat the event like a normal class,” Harding said. “With other events, we still obviously put in maximum effort but there’s limits to how much we can do and how much time we can invest without it kind of taking over and like putting other things on the back burner.”


The esports and gaming community has been a part of the campus for several years, with the program launching its own facility in spring 2023 to great fanfare. Since then, they have built out teams for both Overwatch, coached by Professor Kurt Wirth and Apex Legends. They have also held regular open labs for their club members.


Esports also has experience running past events. In addition to different industry-related watch parties, such as the Valorant Masters event on March 24, last semester esports collaborated with the video games club to create a Super Smash Brothers Ultimate tournament. According to Harding, they garnered eight to ten participants for this with more expected for this upcoming tournament.


“Whether you’re a student, faculty, or just someone in the community, we want to get people from all skill ranges, all ages, all backgrounds, we want to get as many people in there as we can,” Harding said.


Fortnite is a free-to-play battle royale-style game in which up to 100 players can “drop” into a battle arena and compete to be the last person or last team to survive the fight. The game launched on September 26, 2017, to great acclaim, drawing positive reviews and over 10 million players worldwide within two weeks of its launch. Harding and the esports club hope this title will help spur their ongoing efforts of growth.


“When it comes to a game like Fortnite in particular, we actually don’t have an official team set up for that,” Harding said. “This is also a really good way for us to just gauge like, how many people would be interested in doing like, just not only the in-house tournaments on campus, but also who might be interested in playing on a competitive team and trying to come together every week and like, learn and play the game together and grow as a team.”


More information on tournament sign-ups will be available via flyers in the coming weeks. Additional information will also be available in the esports discord.


“We hope to grow and have bigger events, but we need to walk before we run,” Alejandre said. “Running this smaller scale event, but also expanding our reach to those outside of the esports club will provide us a solid foundation to learn and grow from.”

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