The one-of-a-kind, family-friendly esports event brought students, parents, academia and industry together for lively gaming competitions, education sessions, meet and greets with esports pros, interactive experiences and more.
DALLAS – October 4, 2018 – Over the weekend of Sept. 22-23, 2018, more than 2,500 esports fans, parents, academics and industry leaders attended the first annual OP Live Dallas esports event at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. The event, Powered by Team Envy and the Dallas Fuel, drew people from across the state of Texas and as far away as Seattle, Wash. and Boston, Mass.
OP Live Dallas, produced through the collaboration of eGency Global and SMU (Southern Methodist University) Guildhall, offered a little bit of something for just about anyone interested in video games and esports – from the passionate gamer to their parents to school administrators to brands interested in navigating the exploding esports space.
A variety of competitions were held during the event, and esports pros, collegiate teams and amateurs were invited to take part. Teams from sixteen colleges participated in the collegiate Overwatch tournament Powered by Team Envy and the Dallas Fuel, with the University of North Texas esports team coming out on top.
The event also pitted professional live streamers against amateur players in the Bounty Royale Brawl featuring Epic Games’ Fortnite, with the Dream Stream Team’s Top Gun and PinkMeatBall prevailing in the final round.
The GameChangers Hackathon for college students was also held both days. Students competed to build an application to aid the esports industry, with first place honors going to team eRecruit’s Discord bot.
Family fun included pro player and popular streamer meet and greets and photo opps, the ability to mingle with several popular cosplayers at the event and parental education. Through the OP Live app, attendees could also earn chances to win prizes by unlocking badges in the OP Live Odyssey Quest game. There were 39 opportunities to scan QR codes by conquering assigned “quests” throughout the event space. A threshold of 15 badges earned players a shot at the prize wheel. Five players earned all 39 badges, which wasn’t easy, since the player needed to beat a pro player in the Fortnite competition to earn the final badge.
For Chris Stone, CEO of eGency Global, it was essential to create a collaborative atmosphere at OP Live Dallas, where attendees would feel comfortable sharing their passion for gaming and parents, academics and brands could learn more about the many opportunities the esports industry provides.
As he explains, “With OP Live Dallas, we wanted to provide a top notch experience in the realm of esports, with exciting pro and collegiate competitions, which we did – as well as providing the ability for our attendees to battle out with pros on Fortnite. But OP Live is about so much more than competition. There are many misconceptions about gaming and esports, so educating people about the benefits of the industry for students, academia and brands through the ‘Powered Talks’ series was an essential component of this event.”
Malcolm Gilvar, Partner at eGency Global, was pleased that the OP Live Dallas team was able to deliver an experience that was fun for the entire family, while bringing the many facets of esports together, at one event, for the first time.
“We really took a holistic approach to gaming with this event. The fact that the whole family could participate is something no other esports event offers. We were able to educate parents and get them excited about the educational and career opportunities available to their kids who are passionate about gaming. Plus, by attending OP Live, parents, academics and brands were able to see how diverse, inclusive and empowering this community is, which is pretty amazing,” Gilvar says.
Education was a cornerstone of the event’s planning and coordination behind the scenes as well. SMU Guildhall students assisted in planning the event over many months, giving them insight into the esports industry that they will be able to utilize in their future careers, and allowing for student research opportunities to take place, such as assisting with the creation of the Odyssey portion of the OP Live Dallas app.
“OP Live had tremendous outcomes for SMU Guildhall alumni and current students,” said Mark Nausha, Deputy Director of GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “Students presented and demoed more than 30 Guildhall game titles over the course of the weekend, helped organize the event and volunteer teams, and gained invaluable hands-on experience working directly with professional esports teams and collaborating with event coordinators at eGency Global.”
OP Live Dallas was also delighted that money raised during the event will benefit Extra Life™, a division of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, which supports local children’s hospitals including Children’s Health®. During the event, not only were funds raised, but 40 new gamers signed up to do their own fundraisers for ExtraLife in the near future.
“Through ExtraLife, the gaming community continues to raise funds that help kids in their local communities. We were honored to support ExtraLife for this event and look forward to continuing to raise funds for this amazing charity in the future,” Stone says.
OP Live will be returning in 2019 and expanding to new communities in the near future. To learn more about this premier esports event, visit http://www.OPLiveDallas.com/.
OP Live Title Sponsor: Reaction A/V.
Other sponsors include Team Envy & the Dallas Fuel, GameStop, Playful, The Trade Group, Pixio Gaming, Bioworld, Zowie, Lucid Sound, CLX Gaming, and SMU Guildhall.
About eGency Global:
eGency Global is one of most experienced esports firms in North America offering a full suite of services from event production, customer/fan engagement, sponsorship and talent marketing to data analytics, media and strategic marketing. eGency Global is the leading strategic advisor in helping brands, event and media properties, and teams looking to navigate and capitalize on the rapidly expanding esports ecosystem.
About SMU Guildhall:
SMU Guildhall is the #1 Graduate Program for Game Design in the world. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. Since 2003, the program has graduated over 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in Art, Design, Production, and Programming. For more information, visit guildhall.smu.edu.
Deputy Director, GameLab
About Dallas Fuel
Dallas Fuel, one of 12 esports franchises selected to compete in the Overwatch League, is owned and operated by Dallas-based esports organization Envy Gaming, Inc. Envy was founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007 and has grown into one of the largest and most winning esports groups in the world. The internationally diverse Dallas Fuel roster consists of the best talent from around the globe. For more information on the Dallas Fuel, follow the team on Twitter @DallasFuel.
Dallas Fuel, public relations
About Envy Gaming
Envy Gaming, Inc. is the owner and operator of popular esports franchise Team Envy and Overwatch League franchise the Dallas Fuel. Founded as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007, owner Mike Rufail has grown the Dallas-based organization into one of the largest and most-winning esports groups in the world. Today, Envy Gaming competes, streams and produces content across Overwatch, Call of Duty, PUBG, Street Fighter V, CS:GO, Paladins, FIFA and Fortnite. Envy was named the 2016 Esports Team of the Year. For more information on Envy, visit Envy.gg or follow @Envy on Twitter.