Started 20 years ago at a local arcade in Northern California, the Evolution Championship Series has grown into an annual Las Vegas tournament dedicated to multiple competitive fighting games that draws almost 50,000 participants and spectators. Though the tournament has gone big time with Twitch streaming and the Street Fighter V finals being broadcast on ESPN2, it hasn't sold out yet. EVO is still owned and operated by the four friends that started it back in 1996 out of a desire to find more people to compete against.
Running July 15-17th, the nine titles in this year's competition include Street Fighter V, Super Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros Melee, Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Pokken Tournament, Mortal Kombat X, Guilty Gear X, and Tekken 7.
You can catch all the action on four official EVO Twitch channels srkevo1, srkevo2, srkevo3, and srkevo4 as well as Street Fighter V action on Capcom's stream at campcomfighters. Here's the chart with the streaming schedule of all the game times.
Street Fighter V, as you can see, is the big draw of this years tournament. With 5,107 registered player (the most of any title), its own dedicated Twitch channel, and the only game to have its finals broadcast on ESPN 2 Sunday at 7 p.m. PT, its getting the lion's share of attention this year. The prize pool for Street Fighter is over $100,000 with the winner getting a little more than half that thanks to the tournament being part of the official Capcom Pro Tour.
Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee are the next most popular titles with a combined entrant pool over a little over 5,000 players. The other six titles have much smaller player polls, but still have the largest groups competing than at any other event all year. And then there are the Salty Suites. These are side tournaments you'll hear about but won't be streamed. Pros who get eliminated early play these for money and also to build hype.
As you can imagine with such a large gathering of dedicated fans, EVO isn't just about watching the competitive matches. Those that attend the event in Las Vegas have a number of panels, anime suites, and meet and greets to enjoy that make it a mini-E3 for the fighting game enthusiast. Then there's the sold out finals in the 12,000 seat Mandalay Bay theater Sunday night where the hype will be turned to 11. That's the event you can catch on ESPN2 and the main EVO Twitch channel.
Ready to dive in? Check the Twitch schedule for the title you like or watch them all via this multiTwich page that puts all five streams on a single page. You can also check out this guide to the top 10 players to watch this weekend and a glossary to the terms used in the games so you understand the play-by-play commentary.
Looking for more information about the latest from Street Fighter V? See our E3 2016 report on the Street Fighter V UpdateThat Brings Cinematic Story Mode and New Characters.