The in-person LAN event will take place next year at Busch Stadium’s Redbird Club in St. Louis.
Founded by former US Air Force Commander Tony Cartwright, The National Esport Professional Association (NEPA) is working tirelessly towards the development of a professional VR sports network. The organization works alongside a number of franchise owners and professional Echo Arena players in an effort to establish Ready at Dawn’s competitive VR game as a legitimate sport.
“NEPA was created to develop VR sports into a traditional professional organization,” said Cartwright according to VR Fitness Insider. “Where many esport professionals are determined by winning a league or tournament, NEPA is designed to represent the collection of VR sports athletes that train and play at an elite level.”
This week, NEPA announced that it will be hosting a special charity cup in an effort to raise awareness around player inclusion while raising money for the Special Olympics, a global sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. The event will comprise of both a pro tournament featuring professional Echo Arena teams from NEPA as well as an amateur tournament open to any and all players (individual players will be placed on a team automatically).
“Echo Arena requires team strategy, physicality, communication, and teamwork to be successful. What is most interesting about the game is that much like traditional team sports,” added Cartwright. “The only way to get better and compete at a higher level is through practice, both individually and as a team.”
In Cartwright’s eyes, Echo Arena’s combination of fast-paced gameplay and physical accessibility make it a perfect fit for an organization such as the Special Olympics. Mac Dougan, Assistant Director of Digital Initiatives for Special Olympics Illinois, believes that VR technology as a whole could have a monumental impact on sports inclusion.
“The opportunities are endless for Special Olympics and VR games,” stated Dougan. “The whole idea of being able to be an active participant in the games that we’re playing is huge. Not every athlete will have access to a tennis court, or is able to travel on a constant basis to a practice, but VR can bring that experience right to their living room. That is nothing short of amazing.”
The NEPA Charity Cup takes place March 18-20, 2022. Those interested in competing can sign up here.
Feature Image Credit:The National Esport Professional Association