Michael Reddick – EACL – Creating growth in amateur esports

While more opportunities are opening up for players at the top level of esports competition, amateur players are hungry for that same feeling of competition that will help advance their skills and jet them to the top. The Esports Amateur Competitor’s League (EACL) is aiming to assist high school and amateur competitors as they look to gain collegiate scholarships and/or move to higher leagues along with using tournament entries to fundraise for non-profit organisations.

We spoke with Michael Reddick, Founder and CEO of the EACL about the amateur platform. 

Esports Insider: There are a lot of tournament options out there on the amateur level, how did the concept of EACL come about and what sets it apart?

Michael Reddick, Founder and CEO of the Esports Amateur Competitor’s League

Michael Reddick: We want to talk to high school students at a varsity level and help them navigate the waters with what skills it takes to get an esports scholarship.  No one’s really touching that. The ecosystem of esports doesn’t have that weeding out system which is why we started EACL. I’m an ex-professional athlete, so for example: going from pop warner football there’s a weeding out process. When you get to the ninth grade you’re either big enough or you’re not. When you get to that point where you get cut that doesn’t make people hate the sport, they start to admire the next person’s skill and realize why they were better than you. We want to give players like that a place to land. We’re the outside entity, the amateur body that can judge your skills on a national level.

“This is all for you to recognize who you are as an individual”

We host a large number of tournaments so that the more casual and amateur gamer can understand that you really do have a chance and that you’re not going to get knocked off at the first of each and every level. Even though we are not like big organisers like MLG, we’re not competing with them. They’re at a higher level than we are and what we aspire to be. As you go up your skill level you will have the confidence then to move onto those platforms. This is all for you to recognize who you are as an individual and we want teams and everyone to come to us and have an assessment. Our goal is to have the industry say: “What is your EACL ranking?”.

ESI: So how does the system work? How do you figure out the statistics of players based on tournaments?

Michael: We hold a large number of smaller tournaments so we can take your skill set and create a separate tournament so you can play against people of like skill. That way you can enjoy the experience and win some money.

“In our system, you can actually lose all four rounds and still qualify to play for the cash prize.”

The first four rounds are for skill assessment and then you go to a 16 person single elimination tournament. Every month we want to judge you and see how you’ve been performing, where you are now. The final tournament is handicapped by us because we don’t know who’s signing up. You’ll probably play against people that are a skill level 10, 5, 8, so what we’ve done is put a handicapping system in so that if two skill 1 people play against each other that’s 25 points up for grabs, but you also get 5 points just for playing. So not only do you get the experience from winning but for just playing. In our system, you can actually lose all four rounds and still qualify to play for the cash prize. The last two weeks of the month we a finals advance round for the cash prize so there’s a total of 15 rounds. If you win 15 rounds, you win the money.

ESI: Where does the charity aspect come in?

Michael: One of the motivations behind creating EACL was to be able to raise money for non-profits but what we didn’t realize is that we were filling a niche and now it’s grown to something absolutely phenomenal.

We sell licenses out for tournament seats in certain titles. Someone ones in and puts the money up for the prize pot. If everyone puts in $1200 that’s how it gets so big because we have so many licenses to sell. In return, each licensee is responsible for five non-profits whether they want to bring them on or bring a celebrity into partner with. Then the 50% of the entry fee for each player goes to that charity. Our goal was always to be the #1 fundraising entity in the world. To us, it almost seems antiquated to think that you want to make all the money yourself because it’s a natural thing to want to give back to resources to help your community.

“We also want to understand what kind of statistics they’re [publishers] looking at to consider someone pro and we want to mimic that.”

ESI: What’s the goal for a relationship with the publishers of these games?

Michael: We’re trying to build a relationship with the publishers as well. We’re starting these tournaments but we want a commercial relationship, of course. We also want to understand what kind of statistics they’re looking at to consider someone pro and we want to mimic that. We want to be in conjunction and work with them along those lines. Having their acceptance is important to us.

ESI: When does it all get started?

Michael: Our inaugural season is in 2019 but up until then we’ll be doing promotional tournaments every month to get everyone to try it out. The tournament fees are varied right now but during the actual season it’s $20 and for that, you actually can compete for $1,000.