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Alaska’s Largest Esports Tournament Open to All Skill Levels

Jan 11, 2023 | News, Telecom & Tech

students playing esports

The Nanook Esports Blue Team competes in a game of Valorant at the Alaska Esports Center.

Leif Van Cise | UAF

Video gamers across Alaska are preparing for the largest esports tournament ever held in the state. The GCI Northern Lights Invitational has players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) compete for a $20,000 prize.

GLHF (Good Luck, Have Fun)

The tournament, hosted by GCI, is scheduled for three consecutive Saturdays: January 28 and February 4 and 11. Signups are limited to Alaska residents only.

Players join virtually and form teams of five, working together to eliminate other teams or protect or destroy an objective in the first-person tactical shooter. This style of gameplay is consistently the most played on Steam, the largest PC game store, and CS:GO is one of the most watched esports on Twitch.

Typical tournaments require teams to sign up with a full team, but for this event, players can sign up solo or with any group size up to five. Players who sign up by themselves or in small groups will be matched and connected with additional players at their skill level to form a full team.

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“We really wanted to make sure this was an inclusive event,” says GCI Chief Marketing Officer Kate Slyker. “Allowing people to sign up in this way means that everyone who wants to can participate regardless of if they have four teammates to join them or not and regardless of their skill level and CS:GO experience. This is intended to be grassroots; we’re happy to include everyone from veteran players to those who are new to esports.”

GCI will donate $10 in the name of every player who registers to either USO Alaska or the UAF Alaska Esports Center. Each player will be asked which of the two causes they would like to support, and GCI will make a donation in their honor, up to $5,000.

“GCI is dedicated to giving Alaska the best esports experience,” Slyker says. “Our 2 gig speeds give players superior speed and in-game connection. We opened this tournament to Alaska residents only as a commitment to the growing esports community here, and we’re really excited to offer the largest prize pool in Alaska gaming history. We hope it will bring the best players from across the state together to compete for top ranking.”

GCI will host the finals on its Twitch channel, and the broadcast will have seasoned CS:GO commentators in the booth calling the matches.

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