With the COVID-19 pandemic still limiting the viability of live esports competition, CSL Esports has announced LSU as the virtual host of its Grand Finals event. The online tournament brings together the top collegiate teams across Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Valorant, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Street Fighter for a series of competitions with a total prize and scholarship pool of $60,000. CSL Esports has secured gaming peripherals brand HyperX and Twitch Student as partners of its competitive season and playoffs.
CSL Esports CEO Rob Johnson told Sports Business Journal that, in a normal year, the company intends to work directly with a school ahead of its big competition to host its finale tournament on campus, incorporating the university’s esports club and students into roles throughout the production in addition to drawing attention to its esports activities.
This year, CSL will operate the remote broadcast itself with LSU presenting the event and integrating content and branding for its esports program into the live stream. These integrations will bring attention to Esports at LSU, an organization with more than 300 members and competitive teams in many of the games appearing at the CSL Grand Finals.
In addition to raising awareness of LSU’s esports activities on campus, its role as host for the event will be leveraged as part of the university’s strategy to utilize growing interest in esports as part of its recruiting efforts.
The CSL Grand Finals is the continuation of the longest-running major college esports circuit, originally known as the Collegiate StarLeague, which has been in operation since 2009. This year more than 1,500 teams across 448 schools participated in the competitive season. The Grand Finals event will take place on May 1-2, airing on CSL Esports’ twitch channel.
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