ESPN has announced the creation of the College Esports Championship (CEC), an esports league aiming to foster esports competitions in colleges and universities throughout throughout North America.
According to a release by ESPN, the CEC will see hundreds of colleges compete in a series of qualifiers for a spot in the semifinals and finals of the LAN Championship, to be held from May 10 to 12, during the Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. ESPN says that players in the CEC will primarily be competing for college scholarships.
“As universities continue to grow their esports programs at the varsity, non-varsity and club levels, we’re proud to be providing a platform for national exposure and recognition of some of the most talented players in the collegiate space,” said John Lasker, vice president of digital media programming for ESPN.
The esports titles to be played in the CEC include Overwatch, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm.
Four of the titles in the CEC — namely, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm — were developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Tespa will be hosting the qualifiers for the CEC’s four Blizzard titles.
“It’ll be a first for Blizzard to have four collegiate championship events under one roof, which should make for an awesome show for the fans,” said Todd Pawlowski, senior vice president, live experiences, Blizzard Entertainment.
Meanwhile, the qualifiers for Street Fighter V, developed by Capcom, will be hosted by Collegiate Starleague.
“Through our collaboration with top publishers in the industry, players will be able to showcase their talent in high-level competition on some of the most prominent esports titles,” said Lasker.
“ESPN has been a terrific collaborator with Blizzard Esports over the years, having created monumental esports moments together, and we couldn’t be more excited to team up again to provide our collegiate players the opportunity to finish out the spring Tespa season on the big stage,” added Pawlowski.
The CEC LAN Championship will replace the championships previously held at the Fiesta Bowl to become the only collegiate championship for Overwatch.
According to ESPN, the CEC LAN Championship, as well as a selection of qualifying round matches, will be streamed on various platforms.