GCN, Inc. (Gaming Community Network), an independent media group dedicated to gaming and esports, and Van Wagner announced a groundbreaking tournament series that will be the most-comprehensive, large-scale national esports tournaments to reach the collegiate marketplace including fans and players. Each event in the series will feature teams from 10 NCAA conferences, with the top two finishers of each conference tournament advancing to play into a national tournament to crown an overall champion.
The participating conferences will be 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.
Van Wagner is the exclusive multimedia rights partner for each of the participating NCAA conferences. Van Wagner will be working to secure corporate sponsorships for these events as part of year-round efforts with each respective conference.
“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,” said Big West Conference Commissioner, Dan Butterly. “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.”
The first tournament will be held in May 2021 virtually for the 10 conferences competing in Fortnite. The winner and runner-up from each conference tournament will play in the Championship Tournament, as well as receive cash prizes or scholarships, along with the bragging rights as a champion.
Students from any member school from the participating conferences can form a team to compete. Teams within the 10 conferences can submit their entry starting on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 with more information to be released in the coming weeks.
All matches will be broadcast live via stream on the Official Van Wagner Esports Twitch Channel, as well as co-streamed on each team and conference’s Twitch site if they request it. The tournament will also be carried by GCN across 85+ gaming and esports centric websites to enhance viewership and messaging. GCN reaches 65M+ monthly uniques in the U.S.
“This is an exciting opportunity to connect the 110 member schools of our participating partner NCAA conferences to provide an opportunity to compete in national tournaments,” stated Van Wagner Senior Vice President Mark Donley. “These tournaments will be open to the member schools esports teams as well as any of the over 1.4 million students enrolled at these institutions who wish to participate.”
The tournament series will continue into the fall and winter with two new game formats to challenge the participating conferences as they continue their quest for a championship in a similar format to the tournament in May, as well as, future tournaments to be determined in 2022.
“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,” said Chris Kindt, Chief Marketing Officer of GCN. “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.”