Panda Global and Nintendo have announced the Panda Cup 2022 Smash Bros. circuit which will feature a $100,000 prize pool. Please take a look at the announcement trailer.
The first officially licensed North American circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee is here.— Panda Cup (@PandaCup) May 26, 2022
Introducing the Panda Cup, starting June 2022. #PandaCup pic.twitter.com/HsCm9NTCeR
The folks at Panda Global also announced the events they are partnering with for this inaugural 2022 season of the Panda Cup:
- CEO 2022 - June 24, 2022
- GOML 2022 - July 2, 2022
- Smash Factor 9 - July 29, 2022
- Lost Tech City - September 30, 2022
- The Big House 10 - October 7, 2022
- Let's Make Moves: Miami - October 28, 2022
- Saving Mr. Lombardi 3 - November12, 2022
- DreamHack Atlanta - November 18, 2022
- Last Chance Qualifier - December 15, 2022
- Panda Cup 2022 Finale - December 16-18, 2022
While this is huge news for the broader Smash esports scene, it is important to note the fine print at the very end of the trailer states that "Nintendo is not a sponsor, co-sponsor, or administrator of this tournament." Apparently, this is a licensing deal that Nintendo has struck with Panda Global, which would explain the somewhat tiny $100,000 prize pool.
Considering Nintendo has pulled in over $1 billion in Smash Ultimate sales since the game launched on Nintendo Switch, some players and fans were hoping that Mario may have cracked into his fat stack of coins to up the stakes. The Panda Cup is also only for North American events, which is a striking difference when compared to the Smash World Tour 2022 and its $250,000 prize pool. Even a few of the Smash Summit invitationals held by Beyond the Smash have featured single event prize pools larger the Panda Cup 2022's cumulative amount.
Ignoring the size of the prize pool, and Nintendo's qualifying language about the extent of their support of the Panda Cup, this is exciting news for two esports that are in need of more loving. Panda Cup 2022 aims to elevate both the Smash Ultimate and Melee scenes to a new level and have some great events on their lineup. It all kicks off at CEO 2022 next month, so keep it locked on Shacknews for more Panda Cup news as it breaks.