ST. LOUIS — Fair St. Louis is hosting an esports tournament at Ballpark Village this weekend. The Gateway Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational and High School Open have esports competitions from Friday to Sunday.

Eight college teams from across the country and eight high school teams from across the state of Missouri will compete for recognition, a trophy, and $10,000 toward scholarships.

Esports is much more than just button mashing — it’s a big business. The global esports market is expected to generate almost $2 billion in revenue in 2022. 

“Esports gaming is literally the sport of video gaming,” said Jessica Fox, a chairperson for Gateway Legends. “This game, ‘League of Legends,’ some folks look at it and think, ‘Wow this looks really, really complicated.’ I like to explain it really simply. It is a strategy game that kind of feels like capture the flag.” 

Friday afternoon inside Bally Sports Live, collegiate teams from across the country, went head-to-head on a makeshift stage built on top of the bar.  

“If you hang out a little while here in Ballpark Village, you’ll hear fans rooting just like a normal sports event,” said Fox. 

With matches lasting from 20 minutes to an hour and a half, the teams and their supporters got into the esports event. 

“Esports it’s ever-growing like really big,” said Cetris Ivy Jr., who is studying interactive design at Maryville. “Honestly, a lot more people are getting into it and it’s still going to keep going.”

The championships are on Saturday and Sunday. This year’s Fair St. Louis is shifting to Ballpark Village and Kiener Plaza.  Concerts at the Kiener Plaza stage, just south of the Old Courthouse and outside Ballpark Village, will bring music for every age. 

Other events include Saturday’s parade, Folds of Honor on Sunday, and Purina Incredible Dog Team shows on Sunday and Monday in Kiener Plaza. 

“Our goal is to make St. Louis a better place to live for all,” said Dave Estes, a chairperson for the Fair St. Louis Foundation. “It’s our little hope that we’ve got a little something for everybody — whether it’s esports or concerts, or whether it’s fireworks, or whether it’s our military recognitions. We really want to have something for everybody, and we do this because we love the city.” 

This is the 41st Fair St. Louis. They have hundreds of volunteers that assist with putting on the free event for the city of St. Louis.  

For more information about pre-paid parking passes and other events this weekend, visit www.fairsaintlouis.org.