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Every sports fan needs to attend an esports event at least once in their life

Will McCue

Published 
| Last updated 

Every sports fan needs to attend an esports event at least once in their life

Featured Image Credit: Red Bull

For as long as I can remember, I've always loved sport. Anything that includes running around a field, kicking a ball, throwing a ball - anything with a ball really. The atmosphere at live sporting events gives me life. One of my other loves is gaming. Sitting down and diving into a single-player adventure while it's raining outside is the perfect afternoon to me.

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Jumping on Apex Legends or Fortnite with some friends can make hours feel like minutes. Watching professional Rocket League players battle it out for hundreds of thousands of dollars on massive stages across the world? That's exciting too. However, until recently, I hadn't put my two favourite pastimes of sport and gaming together.

Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull
Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull

Last week, I went to my first ever live esports tournament, Red Bull Campus Clutch hosted in Istanbul, Turkey. This Valorant event has qualifying universities from around the world compete for $20,000 and acts kind of like a springboard for esports players to launch their career - just as the NBA in the US may look at college students for their franchise teams.

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The event was held in the Volkswagen Arena, a massive stadium that's been home to huge music concerts in the past. After experiencing the electrifying atmosphere of an esports event in person, it's something that I can wholeheartedly recommend that everyone tries at least once in their life, especially if you're a sports fan.

Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull
Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull

Red Bull Campus Clutch has Valorant as its game of choice, which is a hero-based shooter that is as tactical as watching England and Australia battle it out for the Ashes. Watching the matches unfold live and seeing how increasingly excited the fans were was super impressive. In some moments, the fans were chanting what sounded like war cries. That gave me goosebumps.

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To enjoy an esports event to the max, much like watching any other traditional sport, you have to know at least some of the rules of the game. Rocket League, for example, is fairly simple. All you have to understand is that a car has to hit a ball into a goal. On the other hand, games like League of Legends are slightly harder to understand. Valorant is fairly simple in the sense that if you see someone get a kill, they’re doing pretty well.

Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull
Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull

Listening to the casters in the stadium hype up the crowd as the match gets more and more heated has to be experienced in person. Sure, it’s exciting on Twitch but you can feel the collective anticipation and exhilaration when you’re in the stadium.

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We actually asked some casters and players what they thought the best part of the esports community was while we were at the venue.


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By a landslide, everyone at the event was most impressed by the community itself. In esports, it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, or what your interests are - everyone comes together.

At this one moment in time, individuals come together as a collective, enjoying their passion. It truly is a community where anyone can feel safe and happy in their environment. Sure, sometimes teams trash talk each other but it's all in the name of fun. Speaking to Team Canada, one of their more outspoken members even said, “Sure, we trash talk and shout at the other team during the game, but afterwards, it’s all love man.”

Sometimes in traditional sports, especially in football, there can be a hostile environment that you may not want to take kids to. However, in esports, it’s the opposite. There's still an amazing atmosphere and everyone has a wonderful time - without any antagonistic undertones.

Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull
Red Bull Campus Clutch 2023 / Credit: Red Bull

The grand final this year was between Peru and Indonesia. Sitting high up in the stands, I was hooked watching the tide of the game flow from one team to another. After about an hour on the stage, a hard fought victory was earned by Indonesia and you could really tell what it meant to each and every player.

They’d just won $20,000, sure, however this victory validates the countless hours that they've put in the last few years and potentially even puts them in a position to join a professional esports team in the coming years.

When I asked Team Indonesia what they were going to do to celebrate their victory, one of them innocently told me that they might just spend some time with their family, before suggesting that they'll spend some money. I dug deeper, asking what they're going to spend their money on and the response was just, “Party, party!” A well deserved party indeed.



Watching a big esports event live on Twitch is great, just like how watching Wimbledon every June on BBC is fantastic for Tennis fans. However, it's nothing like experiencing it for yourself in person.

Topics: Esports, Valorant, PC

Will McCue
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