Realistic-looking weapons, military gear may be seen in downtown Raleigh as part of gaming competition

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Friday, August 16, 2019
Major video game competition comes to downtown Raleigh
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Major video game competition comes to downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Don't fret if you see groups dressed in military gear in downtown Raleigh this weekend.

An international video game competition is taking place at the Raleigh Convention Center. Sixteen teams will be playing a first-person shooter game -- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege video game, bringing thousands of people to the area.

Tickets were sold to people in 43 states and several countries.

In addition, 7 million people are expected to watch the tournament online.

"I just came out of the opening ceremonies and within about a three-minute segment, I think Raleigh was mentioned probably 12 times," said Loren Gold or VisitRaleigh.

The weekend will provide the city with a chance to establish itself as one of the country's e-sports hubs.

And, while doing so, it will bring an estimated economic impact of $750,000 to $1 million.

"For me, this is what it's all about," said Dylan Bosco, a college student who is expected to compete. "This is the pinnacle of where you want to be if you're a professional gamer. You want to be out on the main stage doing what you love in front of a big crowd."

Those crowds attracted widespread security, though.

Raleigh police are working alongside private staff and K9s both inside and outside the facility. Attendees must go through metal detectors before entering.

Organizers said they sent letters to Raleigh hotels, informing them that some of the attendees might be carrying toy weapons. Nerf, airsoft, BB and pellet guns are not allowed.