Fortnite World Cup Announces Sellout Despite Empty Seats

The stage, weighing almost a quarter-million pounds, hung from cables fastened to the roof of the stadium

Photo: getty images

The stage, weighing almost a quarter-million pounds, hung from cables fastened to the roof of the stadium

Photo: getty images

The stage, weighing almost a quarter-million pounds, hung from cables fastened to the roof of the stadium

Photo: getty images

Large groups of kids and their parents attended yesterday’s solo Fortnite World Cup as the game’s developer Epic Games “announced a sellout” at Arthur Ashe Stadium, though several sections “remained empty, similar to Saturday during the duo tournament,” according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com. The crowd noise was “still loud, pouring out of the venue into the festival area that featured Fortnite festivities such as a zip line, a DJ Yonder stage, paddle fighting and a zorb ball track.” For the second day in a row a teenager “took home several million dollars,” as Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, 16, “dominated the competition” and netted $3M (ESPN.com, 7/28). ABC’s Michael Strahan said, “It’s hard to tell your kids to put down the video games when somebody’s winning $3 million” (“GMA,” ABC, 7/29). ESPN.com’s Tyler Erzberger noted on Saturday, the Fortnite World Cup duo winners, Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen, 16, and Austria’s David “aqua” Wang, 17, each “gained more than 10,000 followers on Twitter” following the victory (ESPN.com, 7/27). AD AGE’s George Slefo noted the Fortnite World Cup was “trending No. 1 on YouTube Friday, drawing some 150,000 live viewers” for the pregame event (ADAGE.com, 7/26). Esports organization Team Secret CEO John Yao said Fortnite has “done something that no other game has, which is really pushed esports to the mainstream.” He said Fortnite has been “really good for the esports industry overall” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 7/29).

GOING ALL OUT: CNN.com’s Shannon Liao noted fans “flew in from around the world” to witness the competition. Epic Games “transformed [Arthur Ashe Stadium] into a triple-decker set of displays” so attendees could “see their favorite players compete.” An additional 400,000 people were “watching online.” Epic Games “set up multiple activities for attendees to try including a meet and greet with the game characters, face painting and an obstacle course” (CNN.com, 7/27). In N.Y., Kevin Draper notes a “multitiered stage weighing almost a quarter-million pounds hung from hundreds of cables fastened to the roof of the stadium.” Over 60 tractor-trailers of “equipment were unloaded, including one filled mostly with gaming chairs.” Like an “inverted panopticon, 100 screens featured the views of 100 cameras, letting the audience in the far reaches of the stadium watch the competitors.” Giant 4K LED screens “showed in-game action, and smoke machines, spotlights and confetti went off after matches.” Given the “expensive construction and the gobs of prize money, it is difficult to imagine that Epic Games will directly profit on the World Cup.” The suites inside the stadium “were not sold, nor were sponsorships and television media rights.” Tickets for the entire weekend “cost about $50 to $150” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/29).

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