SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., Aug. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Major League Baseball, in partnership with Little League® International and ESPN, will host a special Home Run Derby VR (virtual reality) video game championship tournament tomorrow in Williamsport featuring one player representing each of the 16 International and U.S. teams participating in the 2018 Little League Baseball® World Series. The Home Run Derby VR Little League Challenge presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods will be held at PLAY BALL Park, which is adjacent to Volunteer Stadium, beginning at 11:00 a.m. (ET) and will live stream exclusively on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
In addition to the live stream on ESPN3, a 30-minute special highlight recap will air on ESPN and the ESPN app on Sunday, August 19, at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
The All-Star multiplayer edition of the award-winning VR game featuring Nationals Park, custom built in a 360 degree hi-res visualization mirroring its MLB All-Star Week design, will be used for the four-round bracket-style competition in which each of the Little League players will have 90 seconds to hit as many home runs as possible. Within the experience, developed by the MLB Games and VR team, the competitors will be swinging with a proprietary VR bat controller to bring the unique feel of a real bat into their hands.
All two-plus hours of the championship tournament airing live on ESPN3 and in the ESPN app will be produced by the MLB Games and VR team and will feature commentary from MLB Network's Alexa Datt with analysis from popular gamers and content creators RealShelfy (@RealShelfy) and Fuzzy.
COME ONE, COME ALL
Fans of all ages attending the Little League Baseball World Series will have the opportunity to step into the virtual batter's box at Nationals Park to swing for the fences. The same Home Run Derby VR video experience used for the Home Run Derby VR Little League Challenge presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods will be open to the public during the open hours of PLAY BALL Park and the DICK'S Sporting Goods activation within the Family Fun Zone from August 16-23.
ALL-STAR TOURNAMENT RECAP
Last month, MLB held its first-ever video game competition as part of All-Star Week in Washington, D.C., where Chuck Smolka, a nine-year-old boy from Staten Island, NY, won the title after outlasting more than 5,000 qualifiers. More than 120,500 concurrent viewers were watching live on Twitch as Smolka, one of four kids younger than 12 years old to advance to the semifinals, won the championship in a dramatic back-and-forth final round where both players held multiple leads and a last second home run decided the title. Overall, the entire final 90 minutes of the All-Star competition sustained a concurrent viewership higher than 100,000.