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Big 12 Students Invited to Tackle Virtual Football Competition

Big 12 Madden Summer Challenge

Campus athletics may have hit the skids for the present, but esports can still bring in the crowds, at least virtually. Ten schools are participating in a "Big 12 Madden Summer Challenge" esports tournament, all online. The prize pool is $1,000. The event is being hosted on Mainline, an esports tournament platform.

Registration for the qualifying tournaments is open to all students attending Big 12 schools. The Big 12 Conference is actually made up of 10 universities: Baylor, Iowa State, University of Kansas, Kansas State, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian U, U Texas at Austin, Texas Tech and West Virginia U.

Beginning on July 13, each Big 12 member school is playing host to a single-elimination qualifying competition featuring Madden NFL 20, an American football video game based on the National Football League. One winner representing each member institution will advance to the Big 12 Conference Championship tournament, which runs July 18-19.

"Big 12 Now" on ESPN+ will carry the finals of each school tournament, as well as games from the Big 12 championship rounds. Bill Pollock, who hosts "Big 12 This Week," a syndicated radio show on SiriusXM, will call the plays, joined by shoutcasters from each school. The broadcasting rights for the Big 12 are being managed by media technology company Learfield | IMG College.

While Dr. Pepper & Cream Soda is the major event sponsor, each of the Big 12 member schools will also be able to sell sponsorships.

"This is a great opportunity to engage in an emerging space on a Conference-wide level," said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, in a statement. "This opportunity is a unique way to provide original content from within a competitive environment during these challenging times."

"We've remained steadfast in our commitment to deliver for our partners, even in a changed environment of social distancing and college sports on pause," added Learfield | IMG College's Rob Schneider. "Esports represents a huge opportunity to extend our traditional sports marketing offerings to brand partners, both now and when sports resume, and we're proud to lean in with the Big 12 to create a unique offering for its member schools, students and fans."

"It's more important now than ever to provide college students the ability to stay connected and engaged, and our technology can help aggregate the college esports community to help make that happen. This will multiply the opportunity, power and fun of esports to college students attending all Big 12 universities and keeps students competing while still practicing social distancing," noted Mainline CEO Chris Buckner.

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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