Speed Runners League Offers Paid Tourneys, Inspired By Keemstar & Fortnite

Alex McCumbers,

July 6, 2018 11:25 AM

After seeing what Keemstar has done with Fortnite, the creator of the Speed Runners League decided to take the idea he'd been sitting on and go for it, including speedrunning, cash prizes, and tournaments.

Competing in video games is more fierce now than it has ever been. We see battles of will, skill, and races to get the most kills in the various esports arenas of the world. Leaderboards drive players to do better than those above them. Speedrunners are all about getting that time shorter and shorter to beat a game using any method they can. What is rarely seen though is that fierce competitive aspect of playing against someone else in a speedrun, at least not directly. We see the back and forth nature of submitting times, but when runners sit down to race each other in real time, something amazing happens. This is what the Speed Runners League hopes to capture more regularly with their tournaments.

Essentially, the Speed Runners League is an incentive for speedrunners to perform on a particular game in a bracket against other runners. This is held together by a Twitch livestream that will help showcase the performances and will eventually lead to a full website. The first tournament in the new league is a Super Mario Odyssey Any% tournament with a $500 cash prize. That prize incentive was apparently enough to get lots of runners involved and some of the fastest runners of the game have stepped up to the plate.

The first tournament started broadcasting live on Twitch starting at 2pm EST on July 6, 2018 the Speed Runners League Twitch channel. Their Discord is also a great place to chat with runners and others interested in the league. Audience members will even be able to win some cash as well; $100 has been put up for grabs for this first one.

Jerome "JerryxTC" Chilewski Jr. is the mastermind behind this project and we reached out to him to talk about it. There are not a whole lot of esports-modeled approaches to the speedrunning niche, but events like Games Done Quick (which just recently hit a milestone of over 2 million raised in donations for charity) shows that there is mainstream appeal and potential.

Chilewski says that it all starts with finding people to participate and he does this by going into the groups for that particular game. An easy way to do this is by finding those specific Discord servers.

“We then ask the mods if it is okay to promote our tournament. Most of the time they say it is fine (we haven't had a mod say no yet) and they actually are super helpful and nice. They want to see the community grow as well.”

As we saw at SGDQ, Celeste makes for an entertaining race.
As we saw at SGDQ, Celeste makes for an entertaining race.

From here, it is a lot of data tracking for entries, which is done currently through Google Forms, but will eventually be done through their website that is currently in the making. From there they set up a traditional bracket and put runners against each other until a winner is left.

A popular approach to making a game a spectator sport was cited as Chilewski’s inspiration for the Speed Runners League.

“The idea came when Keemstar made Friday Fortnite," Chilewski explained. "Keemstar made a non-competitive game super competitive and extremely viewer friendly. This is our goal as well.”

He went on to explain just how exciting a speedrun race can be. “Speed races are extremely fun to watch, especially when you have the best go head to head. For me at least, it is super entertaining seeing the top runners keep up with one another. With this idea and Keemstar’s Friday Fortnite, I decided to launch Speed Runners League, a league that turns speedrunning into more of an esport.”

“Speedrunning is super popular, and you can see this from GDQ. The people are there, but we believe the platform is missing. Since we offer cash prizes, large for speedrunning, but super small for other mainstream esports, we can bring in the best competition, which in return brings out the best gameplay, which brings in the audience. We have had countless messages from people who have told me this is just what speedrunning needs.”

This is something that eventually someone will knock out of the park, as esports teams have started to add speedrunners into their teams. The Speed Runners League is not the first attempt, but it is a recent one that could kickoff into something special.

Speed Runners League looks to offer cash prizes to bring out the best competition.
Speed Runners League looks to offer cash prizes to bring out the best competition.

When dealing out cash as an incentive, there really has to be some sort of business model there to support this type of event. We asked Chilewski how the financial side of the Speed Runners League is shaping up.

“Everything is funded personally. I have set a goal of doing this for 6 months religiously until we see where we go from there. Another thing is not only do we fund the prize money, but a portion of that goes to chat for prizes. So a $500 tournament will have $100 for chat. This will be given out by a few different ways, such as just randomly placing a code in chat, to asking chat what time will the winning racer will have and whoever is closest wins, to having trivia in between matches.”

“We try to pay everyone, from commentators to graphics. The only people who we do not offer money to is the racers, for obvious reasons. We believe in supporting people who are willing to help us. Now mind you, we aren’t dishing out tons of money left and right, but if a commentator is willing to give us 3 hours of their time, we feel it’s only right to give them something in return, no matter how big or small they are. However, we do pay higher for people who have a large following.”

“We believe this will give us a good name and help the community! My theory is to pay the people who are helping you grow first before making a profit, because without them, I am nothing!”

Another game coming up for Speed Runner League tournaments is the classic speedgame, Super Mario 64.
Another game coming up for Speed Runner League tournaments is the classic speedgame, Super Mario 64.

Chilewski has done a few speedruns in the past himself and is a big fan of the community. He said that there weren’t any times he was particularly proud of though.

When it comes to game selection, they are sticking with the popular single player games like Mario and Zelda, but he says there are a lot of ideas in the works. He was excited for the Mario Odyssey tournament, “For our first tournament, we have some of the top competition. We actually had the world record holder sign up, but sadly he was too late! Having a cash prize for a speedgame will bring out the best of the best, and it has. I myself am still surprised at the top competition we have.”

The action starts on Friday, July 6, 2018 at 2pm EST at the Speed Runner Leage Twitch channel.


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