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Road to TwitchCon

Exchange support of Army eSports drives mental agility, morale of soldiers

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is partnering with Army Entertainment to bring eSports tournaments to Army installations around the world. Photo courtesy Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is partnering with Army Entertainment, an Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Family and MWR Program, to bring eSports tournaments to installations around the world for a chance to go to TwitchCon 2019 in September.

The Street Fighter V Road to TwitchCon qualifiers are part of IMCOM Family and MWR's ongoing effort to provide opportunities for soldiers to recharge, reduce stress and promote esprit de corps. MWR programs keep soldiers healthy and ready for the Army mission. The tournaments are open to all active-duty and Army National Guard soldiers.

"At its core, the National Guard is made up of citizen soldiers," said Sgt. Steve Johnson, Texas Army National Guard, Recruiting and Retention Command, who helped lead the first esports tournament at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, this spring. "It's important to the people in our communities to see that we are just like you, and you can come do this, too."

Soldiers contribute to the Army mission in career fields that draw on gaming skills, from technological support to digital security and more. ESports also have benefits for warfighters, including mental agility, decision-making, problem-solving and team-building.

"The Exchange is always looking for ways to further strengthen readiness," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange's senior enlisted advisor. "These esports tournaments give us an opportunity to share the Exchange mission with soldiers and their families."

Most of the Street Fighter V qualifying tournaments are broadcast on Army Entertainment's Twitch channel, allowing soldiers' family and friends to tune in from afar. Winners earn a spot at TwitchCon 2019 from Sept. 27-29.

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Brown won the first event at Camp Mabry, a National Guard installation in Texas.

"I came down here to play the game and have a good time," Brown said. "Now I'm standing here as the winner."

IMCOM has had a relationship with Twitch, a video streaming platform for gamers, for about a year.

"The big thing for Twitch is spreading the joy of gaming and being a platform for everybody," said Nathan Lindberg, Twitch senior director of global sponsorships. "Giving active-duty military the ability to have that esports experience on base in their environment is amazing. The fact that we can broadcast globally so that friends, family and fellow soldiers worldwide can watch is just icing on the cake."

The Exchange garnered sponsorships for the 2019 tournaments. Brands like Sony and MSI provided consoles, software and more to award the winners. At the tournaments, the Exchange also highlights services and offerings for soldiers, such as the BE FIT program.

Upcoming Road to TwitchCon qualifiers include:

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, June 1
  • U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, June 14
  • Fort Gordon, June 22
  • Fort Riley, June 22

Soldiers can visit or for more information.

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