The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau and Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee will host the 2023 North America Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship qualifier from July 7-9, 2023, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The event is expected to attract thousands of Duelists and fans and will be the first and largest major esports competition for a card game genre to be held in Raleigh’s history. The competition will be streamed on Twitch and YouTube with the winner representing North America at the recently announced Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship being held in Tokyo, Japan this August.

“We are especially excited to be hosting Konami’s World Championship Qualifier event here in Raleigh, N.C., because it is the first major esports event we will host for the competitive card game community,” said Loren Gold, executive vice president of Visit Raleigh. “Our goal as a globally recognized esports destination is to offer diversity through the many genres of card and video game events we are entrusted to host, and we’re honored that Konami has selected Raleigh to host their passionate community, competitors and fans.”

The team behind the Konami event were attracted to Raleigh in part because of the financial incentives that the region is able to provide as North Carolina is the only state to offer a specific financial incentive to major esports event producers, domestic and foreign. The Esports Incentive Grant Fund, championed by Rep. Jason Saine, was incorporated by Governor Roy Cooper in November 2021. Esports events have supported hundreds of jobs and injected millions of dollars into the local and state economy.

“We are thrilled to bring the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG World Championship Qualifier to the city of Raleigh where attendees can expect an exciting final showdown to decide who will represent North America at the 2023 Yu-Gi-Oh! WCS in Japan,” said Yumi Hoashi, executive vice president of card business, Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. “The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has a rich competitive scene that we’re greatly looking forward to bringing together again through a premier event built around giving our most dedicated Duelists and fans the chance to battle it out with like-minded players who are seeking to rise to the top.”

The last world championship qualifier hosted in the United States was Pittsburgh in 2019.

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