Held for the first time outside of London, Arlington hosted the fourth annual Esports Awards, welcoming some of the most well known people in the esports industry on Saturday.
The event will be held at the Esports Stadium Arlington for the next three years. Awards given at the ceremony were divided into three categories: community, industry and professional. This was the first Esports Awards with general admission to fans, and thousands of viewers tuned in through streaming services. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams helped present during the event.
League of Legends took home the Game of the Year award, Dr DisRespect was named Streamer of the Year, Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf was named Esports PC Player of the Year and Dominique "SonicFox" McLean was named Esports Console Player of the Year — among dozens of other honors awarded during the event.
Nominees walked the red carpet entrance and dined at a reception at the start of the event. Guests were able to sit directly behind them and take pictures with various individuals within the industry.
All proceeds from sales, admissions and streams will be donated to Extra Life, a charity supporting local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Alex Rocha, computer engineering junior and UT Arlington Esports vice president, said it was exciting to see the city of Arlington open its doors to an event like this because it's a step in the right direction to normalizing esports and getting people to treat it just like other traditional sports.
“Hearing that such a prestigious event was happening here, basically my new hometown of Arlington,” Rocha said. “It's just a really big moment, and I want to be here to experience it.”
He said that it's an incredible feeling to be in the same room and get to speak to some of the people that he grew up watching. They were the people he followed, growing his passion for esports.
Rocha said the most inspiring part of the award show was seeing everyone's hard work get recognized. Many people don't recognize all of the hard work and passion that goes into the esports industry, he said.
“All of the big name people are typically people who care so much about things they do and the people that follow them and their communities,” he said. “A lot of work goes into that, and I just loved seeing everyone have all their hard work noticed and recognized and awarded.
Software engineering freshman Joshua Gridley said his experience at the awards show was amazing. He is happy that the esports stadium is hosting this event for the next three years, and he expects to be back next year.
“It's breathtaking, really. The amount of big names that are in the exact same room that I'm in is amazing,” Gridley said. “I got a picture with Dr DisRespect, I'm in the same room as Syndicate. Really, there are tons of big names that I would never see myself in the same place as.”
He said it's motivating to see awards such as the Panel’s Choice Award because it shows that even people working behind the scenes in the industry are being awarded for the work they do.
“I don't think anyone would have thought that something like this would show up in a city like Arlington,” aerospace engineering sophomore Evan Anderson said. “It's pretty incredible, and it's humbling to be able to attend something like this.”