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Last December, the Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio held its first esports tournament. Given their relationship to Pro Football, you might reasonably think they would have made it a Madden tournament, yet you'd be wrong. Instead, the VIP club level of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium opened its doors to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate community for Chain Grab 1.

Esports Meets Traditional Sports

To the larger Smash world, it may have gone under the radar, as the community was rife with drama at the time surrounding the demise of the Smash World Tour and the fallout around that. Yet for the 219 attendees, it was an opportunity to see the game they loved played in a setting normally reserved only for traditional sports, and done well no less.

When asked why the Hall of Fame Village would choose Smash Ultimate instead of a game more closely related to football, Madden for instance, Executive Vice President of Gaming Rob Borm had this to say, "Madden is coming, but we started with the Smash community who are fiercely passionate and loyal. And in reality, what I'm learning through this community, especially Smash, is that they want to see these types of events and competitions succeed. It's communities like this that really can make a positive impact on the overall space."

Chain Grab 1 Top 8

Top 8 at Chain Grab

Talking about the experience of having an esports tournament held in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, he followed, "Wow. There was more magic that was generated than I expected. And of course I knew the big jumbotrons on both sides of the stadium, east and west end zone, was going to be ‘a thing’. I didn't realize to what degree. It's interesting because a lot of the spectators were parents. I don't know for sure, but my hunch is that some of these parents were experiencing their kids’ interests for the very first time and just beginning to understand esports.”

Chain Grab 2 To Be Held May 21st

Ever since the conclusion of Chain Grab 1, people in the Smash UItimate community have been asking if and when there'll be a sequel. Well, the wait is officially over. Chain Grab 2 is slated for Sunday, May 21st at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in the Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio. 

Chain Grab 2 will feature a single and doubles tournament, and participants must be 13 years or older to compete. The prize pool will have a $1500 dollar pot bonus, and top 8 collect a share of the pot. Sorry Steve mains, but he's banned from the event.

There will also be a 21+ years and older VIP watch party lounge on the stadium roof where alcohol will be served. ID will be required for entry.

If you're interested in competing, you can sign up for the tournament here.

What's Changing For Chain Grab 2?

A number of things will be different for Chain Grab 2, although the event ran very smoothly the first time around, so on the tournament side, they won't be changing much. 

Minecraft Steve has been banned from this event, as is becoming mostly commonplace in the Smash Ultimate community. 

When asked about the differences between Chain Grab 1 and 2, Rob Borm had this to say, "One of the big components we learned at Chain Grab 1 was that we needed more space for friendlies. We attracted such a large crowd.We had room for friendlies, but we needed more."

In addition, they've created a separate watch party area. "With all of the parents and spectators, we found there were times when our TO's couldn't even really see the competitors. We were thrilled for the really good turnout, but it showed us the importance of managing the volume and creating a separate viewing experience, as we’re planning for Chain Grab 2."

When And Where To Watch Chain Grab 2

Chain Grab 2 will start at 11AM ET on Sunday, May 21st. You can watch the event on here on Twitch. Esports Illustrated will be on site for the event, so you'll be able to get your coverage of Chain Grab 2 here!