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Ranking Up: The Evolution of the Women’s Rocket League Esports Scene

Updated: May 1

Women in Rocket League Esports

The world of professional Rocket League players has long been dominated by men, but a shift is underway as women carballers make their mark in the high-octane esports scene. Tournaments such as the Stride Esports Ladies Night, Women's Phoenix Cup, and Raidiant x Ally Star Chasers Showdown, champion opportunities and gender equality for women in gaming by providing platforms for the best rocket league players to showcase their impressive skills on a global stage. As the popularity of women's Rocket League continues to accelerate, the scene is set for these skilled professionals to leave their impact on the esports. In this article we'll explore the history of women and marginalized genders in gaming, initiatives and tournaments shaking up the Rocket League gaming scene, and highlight the trailblazers leading the way for gender inclusivity in gaming.


Gender disparity in gaming: a brief history

Gamers with female on computer keyboard

The Underrepresentation of Women in Gaming

Women have historically been a minority in the gaming industry, but their participation has been increasing over time. In the 1970s and 1980s, women made up around 20-30% of gamers, while today they make up around 45-50% of gamers [4]. Despite this growth, the video game industry has historically been male-dominated, with women making up only around 10-15% of game developers [4].


Genre Preferences and Representation

There are differences in genre preferences between male and female gamers. Women tend to prefer games with more communication, relationships, and story-driven elements, while men tend to prefer fast-paced action and combat games [4]. However, women are often underrepresented as playable characters in video games, and female characters are sometimes portrayed in a sexualized or stereotypical manner, which can discourage some women from playing certain game genres [4].


Challenges and Obstacles

Women in the video game industry have faced issues like sexism, harassment, and unequal treatment. High-profile incidents like the Gamergate controversy and misconduct allegations at companies like Riot Games and Ubisoft have brought these problems to light in recent years [4]. Female gamers often face gender-specific harassment and toxicity online, including name-calling, inappropriate sexual messages, being dismissed or patronized, and having their skills questioned. 59% of female gamers use non-gendered or male identities to avoid this harassment [5].


Challenges and Barriers

Gamers with computers

Toxic Behavior and Harassment

Women face significant setbacks in the esports scene, with a recent study finding that 47% of female gamers 'suffered abuse' while gaming [7]. Widespread harassment, discrimination, and abuse from male gamers is a major challenge, with 72% of female gamers surveyed experiencing some form of discrimination or abuse, and 36% reporting it as a regular occurrence [9]. This toxic behavior can include sexist and misogynistic comments, dismissive attitudes towards women's skills, and inappropriate sexual messages [6].



Lack of Representation and Opportunities

Despite their interest and skills, women are severely underrepresented in professional esports, making up less than 5% of pro players in world championships [9]. This lack of representation extends to game development, where women often face gender biases and limited leadership opportunities [6] [8]. The absence of relatable role models and mentors can impact women's career advancement in gaming [6].


Unequal Recognition and Support

Lack of resources and support for women's esports teams and leagues results in lower earnings and recognition compared to male players [9]. Women's tournaments and events often receive less promotion, sponsorship, and prize money, creating an uneven playing field [8]. This disparity in support and investment can discourage women from pursuing professional gaming careers.


Women Gaming Initiatives and Tournaments

G2 Esports formed an all-female Rocket League team called G2 Luna, with players Karma, Carlee "kiaa" Eichhorst, and Gio "Avenger" Sy [7]. The women's Rocket League scene is still new, but getting big esports organizations like G2 involved has been a huge boost [7]. Karma, kiaa, and Avenger want to see more women competing in the main RLCS tournaments, not just in separate women's tournaments [7].


Avenger founded Women's Car Ball (WCB), formerly known as Women's Carball Championship (WCBC), to provide a safe space for non-male players to compete at a high level without facing toxicity [7]. The goal of the WCB is to increase viewership and sponsorship for women's esports, as well as to get women to compete in the main RLCS tournaments [7]. Unfortunately, following the conclusion of Women's Car Ball Season 5 in 2023, there has yet to be any declaration of another season, despite significant community support and demand.


Recent Initiatives

  1. Rocket League Celebrated Women's History Month March 2023: Rocket League launched an array of activities, free in-game items, and tournaments designed to honor and support women within the gaming community.

  2. Women in Rocket League $10K Cup: Rocket League streamer Widow hosted the Women in Rocket League (WIRL) $10K Cup, featuring 12 teams competing in various game modes [10].

  3. Ally Women's Open: The Ally Women's Open is produced by Raidiant, a gaming and esports media platform led by an all-women's management team, with the mission to celebrate and champion opportunities for women gamers. Ally Financial Inc. and Rocket League Esports announced the Ally Women's Open, a women's Rocket League tournament with a $20,000 prize pool for North America and $20,000 for Europe. Ally's sponsorship is part of their pledge to reach 50/50 media spend across men's and women's sports, including esports, over the next 5 years [12]. Ally Financial expanded its partnership with BLAST-operated Rocket League Esports to deliver three women-only Rocket League tournaments and one co-ed tournament with a total prize pool of $75,000 [11].

  4. Women's Phoenix Cup Dates: April 27-28 2024 Tournament Info: Liquipedia | Start.gg


Upcoming Tournaments & Events


Raidiant Starchasers Showdown Series

The 2024 Raidiant Starchasers Showdown is comprised of multiple tournaments throughout the year, with a total prize pool of $75,000, exclusively for women and marginalized genders to encourage inclusivity and diversity in the competitive Rocket League scene.


Event Schedule & Standings

See Liquipedia for more details

  • Series 1 - COMPLETED

    • Open Qualifier: April 7

    • Main Event: April 13-14

    • RECAP: The first North American event in the 2024 Star Chasers Showdown circuit has concluded, with G2 Stride Luna coming out on top in a commanding title bout against Gen.G Mobil1 Racing Black. Talynn "Talliebird" Brandon, Jaime "Karma" Bickford, and Ghini "Avenger" Sy earned the $3,000 prize, only losing three games over the entire weekend and even registering a flawless 8-0 on Championship Sunday. Talliebird led the title charge with a 1.457 average rating over 20 games, capping off the flawless run with a 1.447 rating in the grand final.

  • Series 2 - UPCOMING

    • Open Qualifier: July 6

    • Main Event: July 13-14

  • Series 3 - UPCOMING

    • Open Qualifier: September 7

    • Main Event: September 28-29


 

Ally All Stars (Co-Ed) Tournament

In addition to the women-only tournaments, there will be a co-ed tournament as part of the Star Chasers Showdown, known as the Ally All Stars tournament. This inclusion invites players from all backgrounds, further emphasizing the inclusivity of the competitive scene.

  • Open Qualifier: November 1

  • Main Event: November 2-3


 

Stride eSports Ladies Night Tournament
source: start.gg

Stride Esports Ladies' Night

  • Dates: Weekly Late March-Early May

  • Tournament Info: Start.gg


 





Influential Women in Rocket League


Pioneering Women in Rocket League Esports

Women have made significant contributions to the gaming industry not only as competitors but also as developers, designers, streamers, esports professionals, and community leaders.


Trailblazers Paving the Way

Women have made significant contributions to the gaming industry not only as competitors but also as developers, designers, streamers, esports professionals, and community leaders.


Rocket League Pro: Jaime "Karma" Bickford
  • The only woman competing in the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS), which had over 100 pro players [7]. Karma, along with fellow players kiaa and Avenger, were invited to compete in the Olympics Esports Week, a life-changing experience for them as former traditional sports athletes [7]. Their ultimate goal is for women to be seen as equals to men in skill level and worthiness of fanfare and sponsorships in Rocket League esports [7].

Rocket League Caster & Content Creator: Herculyse
  • Through her role as a caster and content creator, Herculyse has engaged with the Rocket League community, promoting the visibility and participation of women in the esports scene. Her involvement in events like the Raidiant Rocket League Series not only highlights her accomplishments but also serves as an inspiration for other women looking to compete or contribute to the gaming and esports industry.


These influential women are only a few game-changers in the community, dedicated are breaking barriers and paving the way for greater representation and recognition in the Rocket League esports scene and the gaming industry as a whole.


What's Next

The rise of women's Rocket League represents a significant stride towards greater gender inclusivity and equality in the esports realm. As initiatives like the Ally Women's Open, Star Chasers Showdown, and Women's Phoenix Cup gain traction, they provide crucial platforms for talented female players to showcase their skills on a global stage. These tournaments not only celebrate the accomplishments of women in gaming but also inspire future generations, fostering a more diverse and representative esports landscape.


While progress has been made, the journey towards true gender parity in gaming and esports remains ongoing. Addressing the persistent gender gap, combating toxic behavior and harassment, and ensuring equal recognition and support for women in these industries are critical challenges that must be tackled. Trailblazers like Jaime "Karma" Bickford, Courtney and Tally Bird, and organizations like G2 Luna and Raidiant are paving the way, serving as beacons of inspiration for aspiring female gamers. As the women's Rocket League scene continues to evolve, it holds the potential to shatter stereotypes and forge a more inclusive future for all gamers, regardless of gender.




 
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A NOTE FROM MELOGRAPHICS

Thank you for taking the time to read my article, "Ranking Up: The Evolution of the Women’s Rocket League Esports Scene" published by me, MELOGRAPHICS in the #MadeByMELO Blog . Please note:


References to "women" or "female" in this article are simplified for ease of reading only; and also include "female-identifying" and "marginalized genders." This article is in no way sponsored by Epic Games, Psyonix, Ally, Raidiant, Stride Esports, G2 Esports, Gen G Mobile, third-party organizations, and/or individuals noted in this article.


If you have any feedback, suggestions, or comments on the content; please reach out to me here or via Discord. As a female Rocket League and Fortnite Gaming Content Creator and Artist, I wrote this article based on personal experiences and research. I've included sources and reference below for specific statistical and/or notable references which are third-party links/sources; and am not responsible for the content or accuracy of information beyond this post on 4/27/24. I hope you found the journey of underrepresented genders and growing support from the community inspiring.


Cheers,


MELO

MELOGRAPHICS

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If you would like to say thanks or show your support for my work please consider using Support-A-Creator Code: MELOGRAPHICS, sending a tip/donation, becoming a member, or connecting with me via email, social (@melographics1), or Discord.

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