May 27, 2024


Science It Works

Esports IRL, finally: Futures First Gaming’s Fall Brawl will be held at Penn Cinema Riverfront

Futures First Gaming (FFG) has established a unique brand of esports events since it launched its flagship Pandamonium event last December. The two-day, six-sport, six-game expo included tournaments as well as panels on topics such as “the intersection of esports and education” and “esports to combat teen violence.”

That first big event was planned to be held as a hybrid event with in-person tournaments held at Theatre N in downtown Wilmington. COVID-19 threw a wrench in those plans: Despite a relative relaxing of restrictions in the fall of 2020, by December, public events were a no-go. So Pandamonium went on — quite successfully — as an all-virtual event.

Pandamonium is one of four quarterly expos hosted by FFG throughout the year, each one offering educational and informational content as well as live gameplay. Competitors in the first three events — FFG Madness in March, Girls Who Game in June and Fall Brawl in September — are among the qualifiers for the big year-end event.

This year, while COVID-19 restrictions have continued to loosen, FFG kept its events virtual for FFG Madness and Girls Who Game, but Fall Brawl on Sept. 1 will be different. Not only will it be the startup’s first in-person event, and the first esports event held at Penn Cinema Riverfront — and a teaser, of sorts, of the 2021 Pandamonium.

The event will have four competitive tournaments, FFG CEO Stephen Sye told

“It will be a hybrid event,” he said. “Two of the tournaments, Fortnight and Call of Duty, will be virtual, and Rocket League and Smash Brothers will be in person. We will be taking over four theaters in the building. Two will have the Rocket League tournament, one will have the Smash Brothers tournament, and the fourth theater will have two educations panels and an NBA2k22 launch showcase for parents who game. We want to make this a day that is not just a drop-off. We want parents to stay and be engaged and learn about the industry.”

FFG’s model of offering content and esports at movie theaters came about through a partnership with esports community aggregator Harena Data, whose Gyo Score (pronounced “yo score”) is an esports aggregate for free agents, including students seeking college esports scholarships.

“The Fall Brawl is going to be an official qualifying event for the upcoming virtual Esports Combine in October,” Sye said. “It’s an opportunity for players to get in front of college scouts. This is a great opportunity for a [high school] junior or senior who’s playing Rocket League and wants to earn a scholarship to college.”

For those who interested in learning more, one of the panels will center on esports as a path to a college degree, while the second panel will be about gaming and mental health.

“We strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation,” FFG cofounder Malcolm Coley said. “This new model for esports events demonstrates our commitment to building the industry for the region and supports our vision to make esports accessible to all.”

For those who are interested in regular competitive gaming, FFG has recently struck a deal with Training Grounds as to be its official fight games community partner. They jointly host biweekly community tournaments at different venues in Wilmington. FFG summer Saturday and weekday camps are also currently underway, and thanks to a Discover Bank grant, the org was able to provide scholarships to campers, with a few still available.

The Fall Brawl will include tables for vendors and sponsors. If you’re interested in a table or have questions about FFG’s programs and events, email [email protected].