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4 Schools Laying Groundwork to Host Esports Tournaments

row of students gaming on computers

A company that produces esports tournament software has entered into partnerships with four universities to host collegiate esports competitions. Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University and Houston's University of St. Thomas will use Mainline.GG software to host tournaments through 2020. Each institution will host its own university-branded tournament site, enabling students to compete in school-sanctioned games, including League of Legends, Rocket League and Smash, among others.

Texas A&M tested the waters in spring 2019 and extended its subscription to 2020. According to a spokesperson in the athletics department there, the software "allows us to maintain the brand continuity of the university and to drive incremental inventory and value for sponsors."

For UT at Austin, which is running two tournaments on Mainline, the use of the software allows a closer link between the institution and the campus's Longhorn Gaming Club, "to better support this audience to benefit our students and partners," noted Mike Buttersworth, director of the Center for Sports Communication & Media, in a statement.

Louisiana State is running an esports Rocket League qualifying tournament on the Mainline program to choose a three-student team to represent the school at the National Intercollegiate Esports League's "Power Five Esports Invitational" in New York in January 2020.

U St. Thomas adopted Mainline earlier this year to develop its esports program. Now it's expanding that use to run online tournaments.

"These are top universities seeing the value of esports on campus and making a choice to support their students' desires to play and compete — much like in traditional sports," said CEO Chris Buckner in a statement.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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