Olivia R. March 14, 2019
ESPN Events has announced its ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship.
Hosted by Tespa and the Collegiate StarLeague, hundreds of North American colleges will compete in qualifiers for the chance to compete at a live championship in Houston come May. It's a clear attempt by ESPN Events’ to make a further push into the esports industry while it’s still relatively early in the game.
“We are proud to be providing a platform for national exposure and recognition of some of the most talented players in collegiate spaces,” said John Lasker, vice president of digital media programming for ESPN.
Prominent esports titles including Overwtach, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, and StarCraft II are the first to be announced as part of the event. Lasker noted that collaboration with top publishers has played a major role in making an event of this scale a reality.
“ESPN has been a terrific collaborator with Blizzard Esports over the years, having created monumental esports moments together, and we couldn’t be more excited to team up again to provide our collegiate players the opportunity to finish out the spring Tespa season on the big stage,” said Todd Pawlowski, senior vice president for live experiences at Blizzard Entertainment.
This will be Blizzard’s first time having four collegiate championship events under one roof.
Street Fighter’s executive producer Yoshinori Ono also expressed excitement over the collaboration, as this is the first time the title has been played competitively at the collegiate level.
Tespa and Collegiate StarLeague will host the qualifying rounds for Blizzard’s titles and for Street Fighter, which will result in the Collegiate Esports Championship in May. Produced and staged by ESPN Events, the live championship will take place on May 10-12 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
“The esports landscape is a growing and dynamic space, and will fit nicely into our lineup of ESPN-owned events,” Overby said.