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Athletic Conferences Partner with ESL Collegiate for Greater Esports Reach

ESL Collegiate has signed a three-year agreement with the BIG EAST Conference and has expanded its partnership with the West Coast Conference (WCC) for the spring 2020 season, where participating teams will compete in League of Legends. ESL Collegiate is part of ESL, a major esports company that runs online and in-person video game competitions. BIG EAST serves as the athletic association for 10 colleges and universities, covering 22 different sports. WCC also has 10 institutional members and covers 15 sports.

Under the BIG EAST esports agreement, the conference will be added into each season of ESL Collegiate programming, thereby increasing participating schools' broadcasts, creating additional on-campus events and adding new game titles to the program. Competition for League of Legends will kick off among members on Feb. 22, 2020 and will run through playoffs on April 11.

"Our institutions have expressed continued interest in esports and our expanded partnership with ESL will allow us to bring more content and more opportunities to them," said Chris Schneider, senior associate commissioner for BIG EAST, in a statement.

The WCC season began on Feb. 16; the playoffs will be broadcast on March 29.

"ESL Collegiate has given our students a unique opportunity to engage in esports under the WCC umbrella and grow esports experiences on college campuses in alignment with the mission and values of the WCC institutions," added WCC Commissioner Gloria Nevarez.

"At ESL, we believe collegiate esports is a foundational element of the amateur competitive gaming experience," said ESL CEO Yvette Martinez-Rea. "We're excited to be working with industry leading partners to help structure the ecosystem and advance the level of support and visibility for gamers on college campuses."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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