SIE, Endeavor in joint partnership to operate tournament; online tournament slated for August
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced on Thursday that it and Endeavor-led venture RTS have acquired the Evolution Championship Series (Evo) fighting game tournament brand, along with its assets and properties, from the Triple Perfect company operated by the Evo co-founders. SIE and RTS will operate the tournament as a joint partnership.
The event’s first tournament under this new partnership will take place as an online event on August 6-8, and August 13-15, with free entry open to players in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Open tournaments will be held for the Tekken 7, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Guilty Gear -Strive- games.
SIE mentioned in its announcement that Evo co-founders and brothers Tony and Tom Cannon will still be “closely involved as key advisors” for the event, and the event will also involve Mark Julio as as Head of Business Development. Julio noted that the event is “still open to all platforms,” alluding to Evo’s tradition of holding tournaments from fighting games regardless of console, especially highlighted with Nintendo‘s Super Smash Bros. games, which have regularly drawn the highest number of participants since their regular yearly inclusion in 2014.
RTS is a new esports venture from the Endeavor company, a media company that, among its many holdings across sports, advertising, and entertainment, is also the partial owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the owner of Miss Universe.
The brothers Cannon, Joey Cuellar, and Seth Killian held the first “Battle of the Bay” tournaments from 1996 to 2001, and the event changed to its current name in 2002. Attendance has steadily grown with every yearly tournament, and it has remained an open tournament hosting multiple games throughout the years. Games rotate in and out of the series every year, though the most recent version of CAPCOM‘s Street Fighter series is regularly included.
Last year, the tournament was slated for an online event following the in-person event’s cancelation due to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, but it was later canceled following controversy of Cuellar admitting to allegations of abuse of minors, and sponsors and game developers pulling out of the event afterward. He has since been removed from the company, and is no longer involved in the operations of Evo.
The organizers held Evo Japan, the first Evo tournament to be held in Japan, in January 2018. It returned with a second tournament in 2019, though the venue moved to Fukuoka. The 2020 tournament in January 2020 again moved the venue to the Makuhari Messe in Chiba.
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