“CITILINK Esports Academy” reality show starts a grand battle

The Russian nationwide online discount chain CITILINK, in partnership with Intel and the RuHub commentating and analysis studio, with further support from HP, presented the first episode of a unique reality show, CITILINK Esports Academy, following a national open qualifier. The premiere, on October 29, revealed the names of the participants competing for the main prize of one million rubles, as well as introduced the teams’ star mentors.

Last Sunday, fans of the popular esports discipline Dota 2 finally got to watch a long-anticipated show, following its participants’ path towards establishing themselves as professionals.

414 teams registered for the qualifying stage of CITILINK Esports Academy, held October 7–8. Over the two days, competitors from across Russia fought hard for a place in the project. Six teams were chosen based on the results of 376 matches, adding up to 250 hours played. Next, the mentors picked four teams for the second stage. Each team consists of five players and a coach.

The first episode showed the key parts of the launch of CITILINK Esports Academy: the bootcamp where the teams are to spend an unforgettable month-and-a-half of heavy practicing with their star mentors, the process for selecting the leading teams, highlights from the qualifier battles and, of course, the participants themselves, who will eventually compete for the main prize of a million rubles ($17,200).

Alexey Tsidilin, CITILINK Esports Academy project leader: “The launch of our reality show is truly a thrilling moment for the project’s entire crew. Indeed, right now is the moment we’re sharing the first results of our enormous work with our viewers. We have all strived to create a top-quality show that brings together the best that a TV format can offer: both reality television and a very open internet viewership that lives by its own rules. The project’s geography is extensive. Teams from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Vladivostok, and other cities took part in the qualifying round. We strongly hope that our reality show helps towards introducing esports in a new and intelligible way to all those unacquainted with it, while giving faithful Dota fans an opportunity to experience the world of professional esports.”

Nine episodes, 20 minutes each, have been planned in total. A new episode of CITILINK Academy will be released every Sunday between late October and late December. All episodes will be available for watching at the CITILINK website and RuHub Media’s YouTube channel.

Tatyana Shavrova, head of RuHub Studio: “CITILINK Academy is the first esports training reality show on the Russian-speaking internet with high production value. This show will give amateur Dota teams from across Russia an opportunity to improve their level of play and get closer to professional esports. With the guidance of RuHub’s most prominent talents, Vitaly Volochay and Viktor Volkov, as well as esports stars Yaroslav “NS” Kuznetsov and and Dmitry “LightOfHeaven” Kupriyanov, the teams will get a chance to up their skill level within a short period of time in order to compete for 1,000,000 rubles in the spectacular final battle at Yota Arena on December 18. Per the rules of the genre, cameras capture everything that goes on inside the CITILINK Esports Academy: the successes and failures, the funny and difficult moments of in-team relationships, the fallings-out and the reconciliations; all of that will be presented to the viewer in the nine episodes of our reality show.”

Yaroslav Kuznetsov, RuHub studio analyst: “For us, CITILINK Esports Academy is an interesting experience in coaching, and we are glad to take part in such a large-scale project. Our protagonists will get to try themselves in the role of pro players and compete for a ticket to serious esports, while the viewers will get to watch Dota amateurs grow into future champions before their very eyes.”