Van Wagner and Mainline partner up for a new eight-conference Collegiate Esports Invitational

Posted on January 26, 2021 - Last Updated on June 11, 2021

Van Wagner, a leading sports and entertainment firm, has partnered with eight of its NCAA conference partners to bring the public the Collegiate Esports Invitational, an online tournament that will be staged in February.

Any student that is currently enrolled in a member school of the America East Conference, Big South Conference, Big West Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Southland Conference, Sun Belt Conference, West Coast Conference, and Western Athletic Conference will be eligible to compete in the event. The tournament will be focused on the ever-popular Rocket League.

Event Structure

The structure of the event will bring the top players from each conference together for the Collegiate Esports Invitational Championship tournament February 6–7. Before the Championship stages of the online tournament, each conference will hold a single elimination qualifying tournament between February 2–5. The top two finalists from each conference will advance to the Championship. Registration for the event opened on January 21 and closes February 1 online at the official tournament website:

As well as working with the NCAA conference partners, Van Wagner has also joined forces with Mainline, an esports tournament software, and management company. In their roles for the tournament, Van Wagner will host the events on their official Twitch Channel and Mainline will handle the remote production for all matches, which will be played on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox.

Comments from the hosts

Van Wagner Executive Vice President, Mike Palisi, wrote in their press release:

“This initiative is the result of almost a year of planning with our internal team as well as several of our NCAA conference partners. This is the first of several esports tournaments that we will look to execute annually as our industry and the priorities of our partners continue to evolve. We are excited to work with Mainline on our first event, which will be open to any of the 1.2 million students enrolled in the 88 member schools of our participating conferences and allow for deeper student engagement from our conference partners and our corporate clients.”

“Rocket League is a great title to kick off this tournament and we’re excited to bring our expertise in partnership with Van Wagner to a tournament that players have come to know and expect from our team and partners,” wrote Mainline chief executive officer, Chris Buckner.

College esports

This event is a good way for the NCAA to further recognise the importance of esports in college sporting life. Van Wagner will be securing corporate sponsorships for these events as part of year-round efforts with each respective conference. Mainline’s white-labelled tournament software enables Van Wagner to brand the tournament and feature its exclusive conference marks and intellectual property rights.

The NCAA is a very profit driven enterprise and if tournaments like these are successful in bringing corporate support to college esports events, we could be seeing another pipeline for the future esports pro player being created in front of our eyes. If you are looking for a bit of a flutter and don’t mind a risky bet, you should see if any esports betting sites in your state are offering odds on this event.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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