Published Sep 12, 2023
Rays Gaming and Rare Drop Bring ‘MLB The Show’ to Full Sail
The inaugural Sunburst Classic Championship was hosted at the Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress.
Full Sail University recently teamed up with Rays Gaming and Rare Drop to produce the inaugural Sunburst Classic Championship, a landmark esports event featuring MLB The Show. Presented by Orlando Health and streamed live from the Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress, the baseball video game LAN event saw the top two players from this summer’s Sunburst Circuit flown to Orlando to compete for the championship title.
Utilizing the production power of the Fortress, the show featured a full range of LED screens, lasers, and a baseball diamond stage design that transformed the venue into a digital ballpark. “The Fortress is one of our favorite venues to produce esports events at,” said Rare Drop CEO and Executive Producer Kevin Murray. “It offers a very complete package, and working with the students and the team is always a positive experience.”
After battling through the ranks of hundreds of entrants from around the United States and Canada in Sony Interactive’s massively popular MLB The Show 23, players “Bayko” and “Zazzi” were flown to Orlando to compete head to head in the Fortress for cash prizes. After three rounds of gameplay, “Zazzi” emerged victorious, walking away with $8,000 while second-place player “Bayko” was awarded $2,000 in prize money.
Full Sail has continued to serve as a leader in esports live events, including partnering with Rare Drop and other major sports organizations such as Bolts Gaming to produce high-level events like the Chel Challenge.
As with any esports event at Full Sail, Full Sail Armada athletes and grads worked to bring the event to life. Grad Nacip “Phoenix” Fayad and current student Jagger Fenwick worked, respectively, as Game Technician and Stage Manager during the show, working alongside the venue crew, Tampa Bay Rays representatives, and Rare Drop’s production team to bring the virtual MLB experience to viewers online.
“When it comes to producing an esports tournament, Full Sail University is a leader in this field, and we were excited to partner with the Full Sail team to host our inaugural Sunburst Invitational LAN Championship, “ said Rays Vice President of Marketing Patrick Abts. “From the start, it was a smooth process working with staff and students who delivered an excellent gaming experience for those watching in person or viewing online.”
Along with gaining valuable experience during the event, Game Business & Esports bachelor’s student and Armada varsity caster Jagger Fenwick was also awarded $7,500 in scholarship funds on behalf of the Tampa Bay Rays for his commitment to his studies, the Armada organization, and live events at Full Sail.
Scholarship recipient Jagger Fenwick on stage with Full Sail’s Becca Godsey, Sari Kitleyn, and Rays representative Yuki Taketani.
“Building the Sunburst Classic Championship alongside Rays Gaming and Rare Drop has been an absolute pleasure – from esports and gaming industry knowledge, elevated event production capabilities, and fan engagement expertise, this event truly brought to life an elite inaugural event featuring MLB The Show 23,” said Bennett Newsome, Full Sail's Director of Esports Growth & Development.
Miss the event? Head over to the Rays Gaming Twitch to watch the full show.