This Article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.
The Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) has announced the dates for the upcoming Collegiate Esports National Championships (CENC). The event will be held between the dates of Thursday, April 29 and Sunday, May 2, 2021, with the hours on each day being 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The games that will be played in this tournament include Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Overwatch, and Rocket League. The event, itself, will be completely online and be streamed live across various CMSSG channels including Twitch and official esports channels such as EsportsU Network and ESTV.
Neil Malvone, the Chief Esports Officer as CSMG said, “the Collegiate Esports National Championship will change the way people look at collegiate esports. CENC is an all-inclusive bracket-style tournament broadcast on Twitch and ESTV featuring the best colleges from Power 5/65 schools and traditional esports powerhouses competing to be the 2021 national champions.”
The event looks to bring together various schools from multiple associations, schools, and other venues to come and play in the national championship. This includes players from 2-year institutions from the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE) and 4-year institutions like from the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
With over 250 esports programs nationwide, the CSMG will utilize a proprietary bracket-based tournament system in order to narrow it down to the top 48 schools who will then be the ones to participate in CENC weekend. The brackets will follow a regional and seeding formula.
Many schools are currently playing in tournaments such as the championship tournament taking place between March 27 and April 5, 2021. These tournaments will be one of the factors that will determine the participating teams for CENC. The official CENC brackets will be announced on April 17, 2021, during the CENC Tournament Selection Show, aka “Skins Saturday,” which will air on the CMSG’s own EsportsU Network and ESTV.
Besides the primary tournament, CENC weekend will play host to other events for fans and players to partake in. This includes charitable events where both players and fans can give support to those in need. Pre-game shows where the hosts can show highlights from previous championships, interview fans and players about the upcoming tournament, and analyze various aspects of the teams such as strengths and weaknesses. Post-game shows that showcase replays of key moments from the tournament, award presentations for winning teams, and interviews of the participants showcasing their thoughts. Tournament-style matches where players can practice or hone their skills before the real event.
There will also be an Esports Expo where both players and fans can expose themselves to and educate themselves on the various innovations of the growing esports industry. This event provides opportunities for engagement between fans and players. An HBCU Career Technology Fair will be taking place on April 28-29, 2021, and will be completely virtual. This gives participants the opportunity to engage with representatives in the growing esports field in regard to future career opportunities. These events look to bring together a variety of people with a growing interest or curiosity in regards to esports.
The tournament looks to appeal to media and students and well-known streamers/Youtubers specializing in gaming. According to the event information under influencerupdate.biz, the expected audience turnout looks to be between 1,000 and 3,000 participants. According to Michael Schreck, CEO of CSMG, in the same article, the CENC represents the first time that teams from across the entire collegiate esports ecosystem come together to become true national championships in the events hosted.
The CSMG has secured partnerships with various brands as well as representation from industry leaders in media and marketing in order to make the CENC feel “festival-like” in concept according to Neil Malvone, Chief Esports Officer of CSMG and EVP Partnerships. The event looks to be a big game-changer for college esports especially with all the representation and sponsorships from various collaborators.
The CENC looks to be a major event for the esports industry this year as even the CSMGs top representatives have had something to say about it. The esports field has grown to become a major industry in the past few years due to growing popularity and being treated similarly to that of real-life sports. The CENC is one of many tournaments that are taking place throughout the year and audience turnouts continue to grow. The CENC, in particular, will be completely free to attend as it will be viewable on various online platforms. For more information on the CENC, go to their official website at https://collegiatesmg.com/cenc.
Feature Image and CSMG Logo Courtesy of Collegiate Sports Management Group.