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ESPN Events announced today a further commitment into the world of esports with the first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC). Hundreds of schools from across North America are competing in qualifiers hosted by Tespa and Collegiate StarLeague’s (CSL) will soon begin, all for the chance to compete in the live LAN (local area network) semi-final and championship in Houston, this May.

“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. “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.”

The live LAN Championship in Houston will take place May 10 – 12, 2019, at the George R Brown Convention Center Comicpalooza weekend and will be produced and staged by ESPN Events. Individual day tickets and three-day passes start at just $15 and can be purchased at www.espnevents.com.

Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events, said, “We are excited to launch this event with an outstanding lineup of games in a world-class city like Houston. The esports landscape is a growing and dynamic space, and will fit nicely into our lineup of ESPN-owned events.”

Overwatch, Street Fighter™ V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm are among the first games to be announced as a part of the LAN Championship event. Tespa and Collegiate StarLeague will hold qualifying rounds for Blizzard’s games and Street Fighter V, respectively, all culminating at the Collegiate Esports Championship in May. The CEC will become Overwatch’s only collegiate championship, previously held at the Fiesta Bowl.

“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,” said Todd Pawlowski, senior vice president, live experiences, Blizzard Entertainment. “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.”

Yoshinori Ono, Street Fighter series Executive Producer, Capcom®, said, “For more than 30 years, Street Fighter has been the king of fighting games. We’re delighted that our collaboration with CSL and ESPN will allow us to expand Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition to the collegiate market, with incredible live gaming events unlike anything else currently offered.”

Wim Stocks, general manager and CEO of WorldGaming and CSL, said, “We are thrilled to have the elite collegiate teams from our very first Collegiate StarLeague’s Street Fighter League: US-College 2019 series included in the inaugural ESPN CEC event in Houston. We are looking forward to being part of the great spotlight ESPN will shine on the burgeoning collegiate esports scene as a result of their CEC event.”

Finalists will compete for prizing in the form of scholarships, and portions of the qualifying rounds and the LAN Championship will be streamed globally on various platforms.

More information on the Collegiate Esports Championship and how teams can participate can be found at www.espnevents.com.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 33 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, the FCS opening-weekend game, 15 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event, an esports event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 375-plus hours of live programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans. ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises, and the multi-franchise Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-two #1 games* and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Blizzard Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

*Sales and/or downloads. Based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.

About Capcom
Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment for game consoles, PCs, handheld and wireless devices.  Founded in 1983, the company has created hundreds of games including ground-breaking franchises Resident Evil®, Street Fighter®, Monster Hunter™, Ace Attorney®, Mega Man® and Devil May Cry®. Capcom maintains operations in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Tokyo, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea, with corporate headquarters located in Osaka, Japan. Capcom and the Capcom logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd., in the U.S. or other countries. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is a registered trademark of Capcom U.S.A., Inc. More information about Capcom and its products can be found at www.capcom.com or www.capcom-unity.com.

About Collegiate StarLeague

Collegiate StarLeague, a division of WorldGaming, is the world’s largest collegiate gaming league. Since 2009, it has awarded over $650,000 in scholarship money to student gamers from around the world. It has over 52,000 registered players across 1,600 registered schools. For more information, visit www.cstarleague.com.

About Tespa

Tespa is the premier college gaming network in North America, dedicated to creating a home for gamers on every campus. Recognized as the leader in college esports, Tespa cultivates student communities that host epic gaming events on campuses in the United States, Canada, and South Korea, and has distributed more than $3 million in scholarship prizing. Tespa has had more than 42,000 students from 1,300 universities compete in its college tournaments and has empowered student leaders to become entrepreneurs in the gaming industry.

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Media Contact:

Olivia Wilson, ESPN Esports Communications, 904-303-3538, olivia.wilson@espn.com

Kristie Adler, ESPN Esports Communications, 646-547-5637, kristie.adler@espn.com

Anna Negron, ESPN Events Communications, 860-256-1757, anna.m.negron@espn.com