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Esports are Coming to Cincinnati

In a little over a week, esports will be making their first showing in the Queen City at Kings Island. The event will occur on May 18th and there is still time to buy tickets in order to attend. PiViP and All Mid are two local Cincinnati companies who have been working tirelessly to help put on the event in conjunction with Kings Island.

Courtesy of

The event will be a unique cross between esports and a video game convention (also known as a con), meaning that it will attract fans from a variety of different areas in the gaming world. To set up the tournament aspect of the event there were four qualifiers in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, League of Legends, Fortnite and Overwatch. Each game will feature a share of over $20,000 in prizes.

How did this event come to be?

This event has been in the works for well over a year. Bill Donabedian has been working with individuals like LordMinion777 and the Miami University Esports program to prepare. He says that he wants this to basically be the Bunbury (a popular music festival in Cincinnati) of esports and video games here in Cincinnati. When asked about whether the event would focus more on one or the other, Bill stated “Both. A lot of people don’t understand what the difference is. Celebrate gaming and then it moves on to being competitive”.

Courtesy of LinkedIn

While there have been different conventions for anime and other topics associated with video games in Cincinnati this will be the first for esports specifically. When asked if Cincinnati could be a hub for esports, Donabedian responded “There is only one way to find out. What is important is that most of the audience isn’t local. We are hoping that it draws people from all over. We can create an environment where people can come and check it out to grow the audience”. While Cincinnati may seem random, most of Midwestern America is still relatively in the dark about esports. Other cities like Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis haven’t taken a major role in it just yet. Although, recently Riot Games opened up offices in St. Louis and had their Spring Split Finals held there as well. 

Arguably the most major contributor to esports in the Cincinnati area has been Miami University, who boasts a varsity program that is one of the best in the United States. Their League of Legends and Overwatch teams have consistently placed well in leagues and tournaments. They are also growing rapidly both in skill and numbers, spreading to new esports seemingly every semester. This is likely why they have been helping to get this event put together.

Who will be there and what is there to do?

Courtesy of Markiplier

For those who watch YouTube, Markiplier has been confirmed as a guest speaker at the event. He has made a name for himself playing video games in many different entertaining ways. So much so that he has one of the most followed channels on YouTube with nearly 24 million subscribers. While he is originally from Hawaii he also has major roots in Cincinnati. His family moved to the Queen City where he attended Milford High School and started a degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Once his channel started to take off he dropped out of school to pursue YouTube full time. While at this event he will be doing a meet and greet with the guests while also giving a talk.

Jess Brohard who is based out of Columbus due to her work with MLG (Major League Gaming) will be MC’ing the tournaments as they go on. She has over five years of experience in esports. Ranging from Call of Duty casting to doing work with DreamHack in the past. Brohard will bring an authentic feel to the event for those experiencing esports for the first time.

In addition to the esports side there will be more traditional convention activities going on. Pokemon Go around the park, playing Beat Saber, experiencing cosplayers and going to exhibitions to try gaming with other guests. Don’t forget that there will also be vendors will all of the video gaming gear and items one could hope for.

May 18th

For the first event of this type in Cincinnati it seems like Donabedian and crew have thought of it all. From the tournaments to getting Markiplier and all the other amazing activities. This should be a good chance for people in Cincinnati to get to know esports and the gaming world. Hopefully it will create a good gaming and esports culture here in order to bring even more and bigger events. Who knows, maybe DreamHack will put the Queen City on its list?

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