NEW YORK — Fortnite has wrapped its first-ever massive sporting event in New York’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium. It was anyone’s game: It didn’t matter how famous a player was nor what large organization was backing each member of the all-male playing field.
Beating out other pros and famous streamers, Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, 16, made a name for himself by dominating from the first round and ultimately taking home the $3 million grand prize for individual players. That’s the largest-ever payout for a single player in an esports tournament.
After securing a victory in the first round and nine in-game kills, Giersdorf went on to rack up dozens of in-game kills each round, until he ended up with 59 points — a huge lead over the second-place winner.
“Words can’t really explain it. I’m so happy,” Giersdorf said. “Everything I’ve done in the grind has all paid off and it’s just insane.”
In second place, 24-year-old Harrison “Psalm” Chang — a former professional Heroes of the Storm player — won $1.8 million. Epikwhale took third, winning $1.2 million. He has not publicly disclosed his full name. In fourth, Nate “Kreo” Kou, 18, from Parkland, Florida, won $1.05 million.
The stadium was more packed Sunday than on previous days, when Epic games hosted a duos tournament and an amateurs vs. pros competition. More than a million viewers tuned in to watch online, according to Twitch, YouTube and Fortnite in-game stats.