From the NBA to NASCAR, professional sports leagues have made the move to digital platforms as a way to keep players and fans engaged while global shelter-in-place orders remain in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Special Olympics Colorado appears to be the latest organization to join in on the virtual fun.

Today, Special Olympics Colorado will kick off its first official esports tournament, with Rocket League being the game of choice for the event.

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Special Olympics Athletes (persons with an intellectual disability) and Unified Partners (persons without intellectual disability) will be able to participate in the event, which gets underway today at 12pm MST, with a best of three series format with the Championship being best of five matches.

The Rocket League tournament will be the first in a series of esports events - which will be called the Epic Esports Event - with more nationwide tournaments being planned for July in conjunction with another state chapter, Special Olympics Arizona. Future tournaments will feature games such as Madden 20, Fifa 20, NHL 20, NBA 2K20, Fortnite, and of course, Rocket League.

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“The purpose of adding esports is to continue to expand and develop our offerings,” said Rick Brady, Unified Champion Schools Manager for Middle & High Schools. “Microsoft is known for their tag line, 'gaming is for everyone', a familiar concept. Combining the lifestyle that we advocate for, which is inclusion, acceptance, and that sports are for everyone, is just what esports is all about. Esports allow anyone, anywhere, the opportunity to compete. Our goal at SOCO is to utilize esports to capture Special Olympic Athletes that may not otherwise compete or get involved with Special Olympics Colorado, as well as expand the involvement of current Special Olympics athletes through a virtual connection setting.

Development on the Epic Esports Event will continue throughout the summer as more Special Olympics athletes across the country join in on the fun. Be sure to follow Special Olympics Colorado on Instagram to learn more and find out how you can get involved.

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