It’s been a big year for Twitch, with over a hundred million unique monthly viewers reported in June of 2016. The streaming service intends to cap off their year on a historic note: by bringing their bread and butter, gaming, to the White House.
On December 12th, from 4:00-8:00 pm EST, the precisely named White House Competitive Gaming Event will stream on Twitch. Festivities will include appearances from major streamers such as Annemunition and Voyboy. NRG’s Rocket League team will be playing a show match, and Justin Wong will be facing off with Mike Ross in Street Fighter V.
Why has such a huge contingent of pro players and streamers been invited to the White House? Is Malia Obama big into Overwatch? Is Sasha a Smash player? No—well, maybe, but that’s not why Twitch is headed to DC. The idea is to use the event to promote health coverage enrollment.
Brian Petrocelli, Product Marketing Manager at Twitch, said in a press release that their embracing of esports “exemplifies how [the White House] continue to have their hand on the pulse of the younger generation. We share their enthusiasm since we also see the value of health coverage and encourage everyone to explore their options.” And what better ambassador to the youth than NRG team owner Shaquille O’Neal, who released a video to promote the event?
The world of esports and Washington have crossed paths in the past, though on less amiable terms. In 2013, after a lengthy struggle, the U.S. Government finally recognized esports players as professional athletes, making visits from international players looking to compete in America significantly easier.