Big East, ESL To Host First Big East Esports Invitational

The Big East Conference and ESL announced that select Big East Conference schools will participate in an esports pilot program, Big East Esports Invitational Powered by ESL, starting on March 19 with broadcasted finals on April 14 and 15.

Participating colleges have the option to compete in Rocket League or League of Legends. ESL will conduct matches online on ESL Play, with the top four teams from each game title moving on to compete in the semifinals and then the finals, which will be broadcasted on Twitch.

“ESL’s extensive experience in esports will be a major asset as we begin to build an exciting new student program under the Big East umbrella,” says Val Ackerman, Big East Commissioner.

“The BIG EAST has a strong, deep sports culture, and the integration of esports on our campuses will only fuel that passion.”

The Big East Esports pilot program is open to all conference schools and will be an opportunity for the conference to engage with a new segment of the student body on each participating campus. The ultimate goal of the program is to grow Esports awareness and participation on each campus and create a regular season that concludes with a championship experience, similar to traditional sports.               

“Collegiate esports is an incredibly important piece of the player and fan ecosystem,” says Craig Levine, Global Chief Strategy Officer, ESL.

“Through this partnership with the BIG EAST, we hope to build Esports communities on university campuses in a responsible way and provide more opportunities for students to compete against rival schools within their conference.”

The pilot program will also assist the member institutions of Butler, Creighton, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Xavier, in evaluating the gaming communities that currently exist on their campuses and providing a competitive outlet for interested students.

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