UCI gamers cheer on a teammate during a “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” competition earlier this year at Saddleback College.
UCI gamers cheer on a teammate (seated, left) during a “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” competition earlier this year at Saddleback College. Aaron Mariconda

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 25, 2019 — In a collaboration with GameChanger Charity and Amazon Web Services (AWS) the University of California, Irvine’s esports program will celebrate Giving Tuesday with a “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” tournament benefiting hospitalized children and teens. It will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Pacific time on Dec. 3 at UCI’s Esports Arena.

Featuring famous players, the event will be livestreamed on the front page of Twitch, and esports celebrities will act as emcees, or “shoutcasters.” The tournament is part of a daylong stream with other gaming organizations to raise money for and awareness of GameChanger’s efforts to help young people with life-threatening illnesses.

In addition to being planned for Giving Tuesday – conceived by a movement for charitable giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – the competition coincides with the 2019 AWS re:Invent conference, which draws a tech crowd of about 70,000, who’ll be able to watch the tournament at the conference.

AWS has already pledged a donation of $250,000 to GameChanger Charity, and the live event will allow viewers to donate directly through Twitch. The shoutcasters will encourage those at home to give and will acknowledge on air anyone who does so.

“We’ve been partnered with GameChanger Charity since our Esports Arena was opened three years ago,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “Hosting this tournament to help their cause of supporting sick kids through gaming is the best way to spend Giving Tuesday. We hope our viewers will consider donating during the event.”

Devoted to using games for good, GameChanger Charity is a nonprofit organization founded by the father-son team of Jim and Taylor Carol, whose lives were changed when Taylor was diagnosed with cancer as a child. With aggressive treatment and the comfort of gaming during extended periods of isolation, Taylor survived. He created GameChanger Charity with his father to assist children and teens facing life-threatening illnesses like his own through gaming, technology and scholarships.

“For over a decade, GameChanger has embraced the power of play to help young people and their families and caregivers overcome the most difficult situations,” said CEO Jim Carol. “We’re incredibly grateful to our friends at Amazon Web Services and UCI for continuing to demonstrate how the kindness of strangers can bring hope and joy to so many in their darkest hours.”

The “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” tournament will feature gamers from all over Southern California, including some UCI students. TKbreezy, VikkiKitty and MVD will be among the celebrities in attendance. Those interested in watching should tune in to Twitch at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Dec. 3.

About UCI Esports: UCI is the first public university to create an official esports program, regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world. With a successful computer game science major, a thriving gaming community and a history of elite competition, UCI was a natural place for esports to thrive. On Sept. 23, 2016, the UCI Esports Arena, powered by iBUYPOWER, opened.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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