Fortnite star Ninja takes on dozens at Willis Tower all-night tourney

Video game star Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, known for his live-streams of Fortnite Battle Royale, will take on 196 players, with partner Dr. Lupo, in a duos tournament on the 99th floor of Chicago's Willis Tower.

The Red Bull Rise Till Dawn event kicks off Saturday night and runs through the night as teams of two try to rack up the most points (in alternating groups of 100) before Sunday morning's dawn. The event will stream on Blevins's Twitch channel, which he says has 100,000 subscribers.

This popularity on social media channels-and games with stars like singer Drake- has fueled his meteoric rise to celebrity status. In April, Blevins topped Hookit's list of athletes with the most social interactions at over 150.3 million interactions; he had more than Ronaldo, Shaq and Neymar among others.

"I don't really know how to put it in words. It was incredible," he said of that announcement.

In an interview before the tournament, ABC7 asked him what impact he sees from his platform, especially in light of an incident where he was caught using the N-word on a stream.



"The swearing and everything has to completely come to an end.... I have a younger audience, I need to be mindful of what I say," he said.

"You watch a streamer, someone who makes you feel good," he went on to say of why he thinks people tune in, adding, "Positivity is one of my main focuses."

It's also a source of big money. He reportedly makes north of $500,000 monthly for his streams alone. That doesn't include sponsorships with the likes of Red Bull and UberEats.

During an ABC7 Facebook Live interview high above the Windy City, one viewer asked how Blevins gets his signature hairstyle, a haphazard cut with tufts of (at least for now) cotton candy-blue hair jutting out all over.

The secret: A Sport Clips where he gets "three or a four on the sides."

And the color? "I go to a salon for that," he said.

The Willis Tower SkyDeck was a fitting location for this interview since Blevins is a Chicagoland native. He grew up on Grayslake and is still regularly streaming from his new Lake County home.

So, has Fortnite peaked in popularity? Blevins quickly said no.

"The constant updates of the game... there's always something to look forward to," he said of the free game, highlighting "jump pads, launch pads, all of the weapons, all of the different cool amazing funny things you can do in the game and then utilizing them... Getting creative, reacting."

Still, he sees a career beyond this one-oh-so popular game.

"My wife and I, we're using this exposure and this audience we have and continuing to go beyond Fortnite," he said.
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