EA Sports cancels three remaining Madden Tournaments to review 'safety protocols'

EA Sports said it will cancel three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events to review safety protocols aft...

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 9:31 PM

EA Sports said it will cancel three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events to review safety protocols after a deadly shooting last weekend at an event in Jacksonville, Florida.

"We've all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville," EA Sports CEO Andrew Wilson said in a statement released Monday. "This is the first time we've had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature."

On Sunday, David Katz, 24, opened fired at a Madden Classic qualifying tournament killing two and injuring 10 others. Katz had competed in the head-to-head tournament but was eliminated.

Sheriff Mike Williams said Katz was actively targeting other gamers. On Monday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Elijah Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 28, were killed. All of the injured are expected to survive.

The shooting forces eSports events to reconsider security at their venues.

"I think the eSports industry as a whole is going to have to step back and take a look at further strengthening our security," CompLexity Gaming founder and CEO Jason Lake told CNN on Sunday following the shooting. CompLexity sponsored a competitor who was injured on Sunday.

ESports is a massive billion-dollar industry with several hundred million fans. It's estimated that 380 million people watch the competitive sport with the bulk of fans coming from North America, China and South Korea.

For EA Sports, the Madden football franchise is a huge money maker. The game has brought in $4 billion in revenue and has sold more than 130 million units since its inception nearly 30 years ago.

Gamers can make a hefty amount of money: EA Sports is offering a $165,000 prize pool with the top winner taking home $25,000 at this year's tournament.

The remaining qualifiers were scheduled to take place in Virginia, California and Texas throughout September. The main event was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in October, but its unclear if that will move forward.

EA Sports did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

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