Esports-dedicated media group Gaming Community Network (GCN) has partnered with sports and entertainment firm Van Wagner to hold a collegiate esports tournament series across North America.
Each event will feature teams from ten National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conferences, namely America East Conference, Big South Conference, Big West Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Southland Conference, Sun Belt Conference, West Coast Conference, Western Athletic Conference and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
As a part of the deal, Van Wagner will serve as the exclusive multimedia rights partner for each participating NCAA conference and will broadcast all matches of the series on its official esports Twitch channel. Additionally, the firm will secure corporate sponsorships for the series.
Mark Donley, Van Wagner Senior Vice President, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity to connect the 110 member schools of our partner NCAA conferences in a nation-wide esports competition. These tournaments will be open to the member schools, as well as to any of the over 1.4 million students enrolled at these institutions.”
GCN will feature the series across its range of esports and gaming-dedicated websites, which, according to the release, reaches over 65 million unique monthly viewers.
Chris Kindt, Chief Marketing Officer at GCN, also spoke on the announcement in a release: “Delivering great events and experiences for our gaming and esports community is in our DNA, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with a pioneer like Van Wagner to completely change the collegiate esports landscape. We are forging a new era for college students, and we’re building an engaging and exciting event for brands to showcase their value to a captive audience.”
The series will start in May 2021 with an online Fortnite tournament. Students from any member school in the participating conferences can form a team and sign up to compete for real or scholarship money. The top two teams from each tournament will advance to the national Championship Tournament.
Dan Butterly, Big West Conference Commissioner, added: “This is a tremendous opportunity for students at Big West Conference institutions to participate and compete in esports against institutions and conferences across the country. The Big West is excited to partner with Van Wagner and GCN on this initiative and we look forward to the growth of collegiate esports and watching students at our institutions compete.”
Esports Insider says: This is great news for North American collegiate esports. The combination of Van Wagner’s experience in collegiate space with GCN’s massive reach might move it up to a new level. National series with so many schools involved is a promising start.