Shaquille O’Neal Announces eSports Gaming Marathon at the White House

December 12, 2016

12:50 pm

The world of eSports has taken the world by storm in recent years. With everything from official leagues to Olympic consideration, professional gamers are finally carving out their niche in the world of sports and entertainment. And while gaming is still a far cry from globally televised popularity, gaming marathons have become a big part of the eSports culture. And the next one will turn heads around the world.

Shaquille O’Neal, four-time NBA champion and notable eSports investor, announced on Thursday that the White House would be hosting a gaming marathon today on Twitch, the popular live streaming video platform. This event will be the first of its kind for the eSports community and will combine eSports titles along with casual gaming for a massively exciting event in the heart of Washington, D.C.

“We appreciate how the White House has recognized the power and passion of our community,” said Brian Petrocelli, product marketing manager at Twitch in a statement.

While we’re sure Obama is a big fan of Call of Duty and Rocket League, the event serves a higher purpose than just supported the eSports community. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about health care and the importance of signing up for comprehensive coverage. The event will be encouraging players and viewers alike to sign up through the Affordable Care Act.

“Gamers, like everyone, deserve high-quality health care coverage,” said Erik Martin, a policy advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in a blog post.“Engaging the expanding gamer community is part of the Administration’s effort to meet people where they are to help them find a health care plan that’s best for them.”

You might be thinking that video games and health insurance don’t really have anything in common. And you’re absolutely right. But pairing something that is considerably popular with young people with something that needs to be taken more seriously by young people is a genius move by the White House. Whether the event will create enough buzz to be worth it remains to be seen. But at least the eSports community will be getting a bump from the nation’s capital.

Photo: Flickr / Alex Proimos 

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at

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