MTN DEW Real Change Challenge returns for 2023 to support HBCU gamers

promo image for the mountain dew real change challenge
Image credit: Mountain Dew

Soft drink brand Mountain Dew has announced that it’s bringing back the MTN DEW Real Change Challenge for 2023.

Scheduled to kick off in October, the Real Change Challenge aims to support student gamers from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) by sponsoring a nationwide Mortal Kombat 1 tournament.

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Participants will compete for a share of its $500,000 (⁓£387,000) prize pool, along with the opportunity to receive coaching and exposure from esports experts. The competition will take the form of a 64-player 1v1 bracket-style tournament, featuring four rounds of double-elimination gameplay.

The climax will be reached when the final 12 teams compete head-to-head in a Live Championship event set to take place in Atlanta, Georgia, where the top two players will battle it out for the first-place prize of $45,000 (⁓£35,000).

Moreover, in this year’s edition of the MTN DEW Real Change Challenge, the soft drink brand is renewing its partnership with the esports non-profit organisation, Cxmmunity Media, which is also behind the HBCU Esports League. The two entities previously joined forces in 2022, again, for the MTN DEW Real Change Challenge, where student gamers competed in Call of Duty.

Ryan Johnson, CEO of Cxmmunity Media, commented on the upcoming event: “Cxmmunity Media is proud to partner again with MTN DEW to further our mission of future-proofing diversity and equity in gaming.

“Access and representation are key factors in attracting and maintaining diverse talent in the gaming industry. We look forward to doing more programming with brands like MTN DEW to serve as a pipeline for more gamers of color to tap into the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry.”

In addition, Mountain Dew is teaming up with RDCWorld, a creative collective of entertainers, to bring the Real Change Challenge to its annual convention, Dream Con.

During Dream Con, attendees will be able to enjoy Mortal Kombat 11 amateur and celebrity tournaments hosted by Mountain Dew. There will also be a panel discussion titled ‘The Faces of Real Change in Gaming,’ which will emphasise the importance of representation in the esports industry.

Radina Koutsafti
Radina has been a Freelance Journalist for Esports Insider since 2021. When not playing Apex Legends, she enjoys writing about tech, equality and education in esports.