ESPN Events To Launch ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship
New event will culminate with live LAN championship in Houston in May
ESPN continues to dive deeper into the rapidly growing esports sector, announcing plans for the first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC). Produced and staged by ESPN Events, the ESPN CEC will feature hundreds of schools from across North America competing in qualifiers hosted by Tespa and Collegiate StarLeague (CSL) for a chance to compete in the live LAN (local area network) semi-final and championship in Houston in May.
“As universities continue to grow their esports programs at the varsity, non-varsity and club levels, we’re proud to be providing a platform for national exposure and recognition of some of the most talented players in the collegiate space,” says John Lasker, vice president of Digital Media Programming for ESPN. “Through our collaboration with top publishers in the industry, players will be able to showcase their talent in high-level competition on some of the most prominent esports titles.”
The live LAN Championship in Houston will take place May 10 – 12, 2019, at the George R Brown Convention Center Comicpalooza weekend and will be produced and staged by ESPN Events.
Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events, says, “We are excited to launch this event with an outstanding lineup of games in a world-class city like Houston. The esports landscape is a growing and dynamic space, and will fit nicely into our lineup of ESPN-owned events.”
Overwatch, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm are among the first games to be announced as a part of the LAN Championship event. Tespa and Collegiate Star League will hold qualifying rounds for Blizzard’s games and Street Fighter V, respectively, all culminating at the Collegiate Esports Championship in May. The CEC will become Overwatch’s only collegiate championship, previously held at the Fiesta Bowl.
“ESPN has been a terrific collaborator with Blizzard Esports over the years, having created monumental esports moments together, and we couldn’t be more excited to team up again to provide our collegiate players the opportunity to finish out the spring Tespa season on the big stage,” says Todd Pawlowski, senior vice president, live experiences, Blizzard Entertainment. “It’ll be a first for Blizzard to have four collegiate championship events under one roof, which should make for an awesome show for the fans.”
Yoshinori Ono, Street Fighter series Executive Producer, Capcom, says, “For more than 30 years, Street Fighter has been the king of fighting games. We’re delighted that our collaboration with CSL and ESPN will allow us to expand Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition to the collegiate market, with incredible live gaming events unlike anything else currently offered.”
Wim Stocks, general manager and CEO of WorldGaming and CSL, says, “We are thrilled to have the elite collegiate teams from our very first Collegiate StarLeague’s Street Fighter League: US-College 2019 series included in the inaugural ESPN CEC event in Houston. We are looking forward to being part of the great spotlight ESPN will shine on the burgeoning collegiate esports scene as a result of their CEC event.”
Finalists will compete for prizing in the form of scholarships, and portions of the qualifying rounds and the LAN Championship will be streamed globally on various platforms.
Individual day tickets and three-day passes for the LAN Championship in Houston start at $15 and can be purchased at www.espnevents.com.