Cross-Campus Esports Tournaments to Begin September 21

DALLAS – Learfield IMG College, in collaboration with its tournament operator provider Mainline, announced today the “2020 Fall Madden Challenge” for NM State and 10 associated members within the Mountain West Conference. The format involves hosting esports qualifiers at the respective academic institutions, to be followed by a Championship with games called by the play-by-play broadcasters associated with the various programs.

The individual qualifying tournaments begin on September 21, with registration now open to students and cadets through the respective associated links. The MW members participating in the 2020 Fall Madden Challenge are Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming. In addition, NM State will be participating. Learfield IMG College holds individual athletics multimedia rights agreements with each of these participating institutions, which allows for new brand opportunities for current corporate partners.

“We see tremendous value in esports, particularly during a time of social distancing when more students and cadets may be learning remotely,” said Learfield IMG College’s EVP/Managing Director – Media and Partnerships Group, Rick Barakat. “Through Mainline’s white-labeled tournament software, we’re also able to incorporate sponsors with the tournaments, which feature institutional marks and an association where they already have an affinity. It’s a smart avenue for local, regional and national brands to reach an extended and specific audience while connecting in new ways.”

The 2020 Fall Challenge features Madden NFL 20 on Xbox One, with one winner advancing from the 11 individual, single-elimination qualifying tournaments. Those winners will advance, representing their “home” academic institution in a championship tournament, which will be broadcast on Twitch starting September 24. Five student/cadet wildcards will be added to the Championship to create a 16-person bracket in determining the champion. All tournaments are single-elimination format. The play-by-play broadcasters, who are already familiar voices to these fanbases, will be calling the esports game action respectively.

Barakat added, “As part of our evolution to grow as a media and tech company, we’ve placed a significant emphasis and priority on esports. We look forward to continuing to build esports into an even more robust and dynamic offering for brands and our partner institutions.”

Mainline is an esports tournament software and management company focused on providing customers with their own esports offerings. Houston, Texas-based Mainline helps colleges and brands manage, monetize and market their esports programs and tournaments. For more information, visit and

Learfield IMG College is the leading media and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. The company unlocks the value of college sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions for fan engagement. The Learfield IMG College suite of services includes licensing and multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics; ticketing, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue technology systems. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, the company has long had the privilege of being an advocate for intercollegiate athletics and the student-athlete experience. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.