ESPN Announces Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament
ESPN is piling onto to growing slate of esports programming with the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament, featuring athletes, celebrities and ESPN talent. The tournament will kick off Sunday, April 19 with a bracket reveal show at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2, before all matches move to ESPN digital and social platforms, including ESPN Esports Twitch and YouTube, ESPN Twitter and the ESPN app. Matches will air each day at noon ET starting on Monday, April 20.
The tournament, executed and produced with PlayVS and Nerd Street Gamers, is a single elimination bracket played on the latest installment in the popular EA SPORTS Madden NFL franchise, Madden NFL 20. The winner will receive a donation to Feeding America in their name following the championship on April 26 at 12 p.m., airing on ESPN2 and hosted by ESPN’s own Field Yates and Arda Ocal.
The tournament is also part of ESPN’s commitment to bringing the sports community together through its #oneteam initiative and EA’s “Stay Home. Play Together.” initiatives, helping the gaming community find more ways to connect through play during a time where people need to be physically apart.
“Like our broader content efforts on digital and social platforms, esports and gaming are core to our audience expansion priority,” says Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of social & digital content, ESPN. “We remain committed to serving all fans, and the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament is a great way to show that, even though participants are competing against each other, they are all on #oneteam.”
“Producing the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament is a natural progression for Nerd Street Gamers as traditional sports and esports continue to converge,” said John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. “I grew up watching ESPN every day and seeing our brand on there will be a dream come true. Esports is playing a major role in bringing people together during these difficult times and we are excited to work with PlayVS and ESPN for this tournament going towards a great cause.”
“ESPN is sports. It’s the north star for everything relevant, exciting, and compelling about the world of sports. As esports adoption grows, we’re fortunate to run a tournament like the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament that furthers visibility on such a culturally significant stage,” said Delane Parnell, CEO and founder of PlayVS. “All of the reasons we love sports — competition, community, teamwork, stories — are the same reasons we love esports. ESPN shining a light on these things is important, exciting and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Confirmed participants in the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament (in alphabetical order) are:
- Cam Jordan – New Orleans Saints defensive end
- Chris Weidman – UFC athlete and former middleweight champion
- Daniel Cormier – UFC athlete and former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion
- DeAndre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals wide receiver
- Devonta Freeman – NFL running back
- Drew Lock – Denver Broncos quarterback
- Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – Baltimore Ravens wide receiver
- Katie Nolan – ESPN host, Always Late with Katie Nolan
- Lil Yachty – rapper, singer and songwriter
- Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos running back
- Omar Raja – ESPN digital and social content commentator
- Pat McAfee – ESPN analyst and contributor
- Snoop Dogg – rapper, producer, entrepreneur, and actor
- Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills wide receiver
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs tight end
- YG – rapper and actor