Rocket League Esports has announced the expansion of Collegiate Rocket League (CRL) to include Europe.
The Psyonix-run collegaite league, which was previously exclusively for North American colleges, will open its doors to European universities and host a Collegiate Rocket League World Championship.
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Founded in 2017, CRL is Rocket League’s official league for collegiate esports. During its Spring 2021 season, the league handed out $75,000 (£54,000) in scholarship prize money.
The North American portion of CRL will still operate in the Spring and Fall. However, the best teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will now earn invites to the CRL World Championship, which is set to take place in June 2022. The World Championship will replace the CRL National Championship held in previous years.
In a blog post, Rocket League Esports said it is taking a ‘community-first approach’ to growing CRL in Europe. It announced there will be a number of regional leagues across the continent to find the best teams in Europe. Top performers from those leagues will qualify for the CRL World Championship.
Details about how the European portion of CRL will work have not been revealed, but more information will be coming ‘in the following weeks’, according to the blog post. Additionally, details about the first World Championship and how invites will be distributed across North America and Europe will be released in the coming months.
Moreover, the announcement revealed that Psyonix is looking to expand CRL into a circuit-based system in the future, as well as introduce ‘educational opportunities’ and experiences for students within the Rocket League Esports ecosystem.
In the blog post, Rocket League Esports said: “Looking back, CRL has exceeded our expectations as a league over its nearly five-year history. With the expansion of community university leagues in Europe, a live World Championship and more to come this summer, we’re excited to see where CRL continues to go.
“With all that said, we want to say thank you to the wonderful collegiate community that has supported CRL for the last five years. We wouldn’t be at this moment without you, and we’re looking forward to what the future holds for CRL.”
Prior to this announcement, European university Rocket League tournaments were solely run by independent third-party entities. This includes the European University Rocketeers’ Championship (EURC), Amazon University Esports Masters, and country-specific leagues such as NSE in the UK and Uniliga in Germany.
It was not revealed whether the European portion of the CRL will supersede these leagues, or plans to work with them. However, in an announcement video Cory Lanier, Esports Manager of Product for Rocket League Esports, stated it will partner with community organisers to run CRL in Europe.
Esports Insider says: Psyonix’s expansion of CRL into Europe is a huge investment into its collegiate programme. This is great news for a European collegiate ecosystem that has long called for game developer support. Cory Lanier said this may well be the first official global collegiate league for an esport, which speaks to the ambition of the project.