Learfield IMG College Taps Esports Engine as Broadcast, Production Partner for Level Next Esports League

On the heels of the recent introduction of Level Next, The College Esports League, Learfield IMG College announced its key operational partners behind the largest intercollegiate esports league open to all college students attending a four-year accredited university. It is also the first league to be supported by official school branding and athletics marketing assets.

In addition to Learfield IMG College’s cornerstone relationship with Electronic Arts (EA), Level Next is working with Esports Engine (a Vindex company), Mainline and Endeavor as the principal partners responsible for overall operation and supporting elements of the esports tournaments that will be housed within the platform. Level Next acts as the official home for EA’s collegiate esports national championship events. The league officially started this month with the Fall Champions Series featuring EA SPORTS Madden NFL 21.

Mainline has been Learfield IMG College’s esports tournament operator since the company entered the space. “Level Next is the culmination of every partner’s strength and then amplified to meet the high level of demand from players and the industry as a whole,” said Mainline CEO Chris Buckner.

In coordination with its partners at EA and Endeavor, Learfield IMG College selected Esports Engine as its initial broadcast and production partner to develop this new and engaging content for the college community. Esports Engine will deliver over 70 hours of broadcast content throughout the Fall Champions Series, featuring red zone coverage, matches of the week and other shoulder content. Level Next will host multiple seasons each year and feature various competitive game titles from different publishers.

“Level Next provides the esports player and overall student community the best of college fandom in an easy-to-follow, centralized format,” said Learfield IMG College EVP/Managing Director – Media and Partnerships Group Rick Barakat. “We’re bullish on esports and the tremendous value we know it can deliver to sponsors and to schools. With EA and alongside Mainline, Esports Engine and Endeavor, we’re confident we’re delivering an exceptional experience for these students, while further authenticating and legitimizing the college esports community.”

Monday marked the start of Round 2: Conference/Regional Play, through Dec. 18, with winning players from each school competing as a team against other schools in the conference or region. This round follows the initial Fall Champions Series’ qualifying tournaments held Nov. 9-20. Round 3: Conference/Regional Championships will be held Jan. 4-9, 2021, followed by Round 4: Championship play, Jan. 13-17. The Fall Champions Series will have the largest-ever collegiate esports cash prize pool of $150,000; $50,000 of which will be awarded directly to campus esports programs through a social marketing competition.

“We are extremely excited to work with Learfield IMG College and bring the Level Next esports experience to life,” said Esports Engine CEO Adam Apicella. “Collegiate esports leagues are vital to driving the industry forward and continues our mission of facilitating a more accessible, open, and inclusive esports ecosystem. We’re proud to be part of this endeavor through the Fall Champions Series.”

The Level Next Fall Champions Series matches and weekly programming will be broadcast on its official Twitch channel and website, with additional outlets and locations to be announced later. For more information on the official rules and registration details, visit LevelNextEsports.com.

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