HOUSTON (Aug. 5, 2021) – Launch Esports™, a joint venture between Mainline, a leading esports tournament software and management company, and Steel Planet Esports, an affiliated venture of college multimedia rights holder Steel Curtain U., today announced the first slate of Division II and NAIA conference competitions and invitationals, which will immediately bring structure and continuity to conference-level play for small college conferences and schools across the U.S. Launch Esports provides competition infrastructure, broadcasting and management of esports rights for Division II, Division III, NAIA and community college conferences and universities, including KCAC, Mid-South Conference, Conference Carolinas, Sooner Athletic Conference, and Red River Athletic Conference.
“Launch Esports and its member conferences are focused on the massive untapped opportunity to reach a community at over 1,500 schools across the nation,” said Darin David, President of Launch Esports. “By bringing the advanced tools, best practices, competition platforms, and live event production to these schools, we are opening a huge opportunity for a collegiate community that reaches 55+ million students and alumni nationwide.”
Today’s announcements are the first of many to come for Launch Esports as it rolls out its plans to bring professionalism and commercialization opportunities to collegiate esports.
“Our experience with Launch Esports running our Madden Invitational this summer was excellent and has only added to the KCAC’s vision of esports as we enter our inaugural year of full competition this fall,” said KCAC Commissioner Dr. Scott Crawford. “Launch has delivered on building first-class tournaments for our student-athletes and teams. It is a great feeling to know we are working with the premier partner ensuring a best-in-class experience when it comes to the overall platform, onboarding competitors and teams, marketing competitions, and broadcasting the great competition within the KCAC.”
Schools competing for KCAC include Bethany College KS, Ottawa University KS, Kansas Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Columbia College MO, York College NE, and University of St. Mary KS. The conference competitions include weekly matches to be broadcasted by Launch with the following game titles: Overwatch, Call of Duty and Valorant. A full schedule of matches and events will be available later this fall on KCAC’s and each school’s websites.
Eric Ward, Commissioner of the Mid-South Conference had this to say: “The Mid-South Conference is proud to partner with Launch Esports as we begin to compete as a conference this fall. Their knowledge and expertise in competitive gaming will make our initial efforts to sponsor esports as a conference championship seamless and hassle-free.”
Schools competing for Mid-South include Bethel University TN, Campbellsville University KY, Cumberland University TN, University of the Cumberlands KY, University of Pikeville KY, Shawnee State University OH, Keiser University FL, and University of St. Thomas FL. The conference competitions include weekly matches to be broadcasted by Launch with the following game titles: Smash, Overwatch, Rocket League and League of Legends. A full schedule of matches and events will be available later this fall on Mid South’s and each school’s websites
As part of its offering, Launch Esports provides professional broadcasting and on-air talent services to its member conferences. Talent contracted for the fall competitions include Nick “Vodible” Ambrozic, a Canadian born host and commentator with over four years of experience across collegiate, amateur, and professional levels of competition; and Grant “Shope” Shope, a Georgia-based commentator with over five years of experience from the grassroots level to collegiate and professional esports. Vodible has collaborated with the likes of Dreamhack, Psyonix, Nerd Street, Dallas Fuel, XSET, Ghost Gaming, Soniqs, and most of the top collegiate organizations in esports over multiple titles. Shope has been featured in events hosted by Psyonix, NASCAR, Dreamhack, Nerd Street, Momocon, Ghost Gaming, XSET, The Peeps, Pittsburgh Knights, Top Blokes, and Stay Plugged, as well as numerous other amateur and collegiate events.
Other conferences will have fall esports invitationals open to students from member schools including Conference Carolinas, Sooner Athletic Conference and Red River Athletic Conference. Launch anticipates adding additional conferences to create continuity across various NAIA, Division II, Division III and Community College that want to feature traditional conference play among their member schools.
More information on Launch Esports can be found at www.launchesports.gg.
Mainline is an esports tournament software and management company focused on providing customers with their own esports offerings. Based in Houston, TX, Mainline helps colleges and brands manage, monetize and market their esports programs and tournaments, and has quickly become the leader in collegiate esports. For more information, visit mainline.gg and twitter.com/mainlineesports.
About Steel Planet Esports
Steel Planet Esports was created to address the business needs of college conferences and brand partners. SPE was developed as a partnership between Darin David of college multi-media rights holder Steel Curtain U, TV producer and Disney veteran Randy Gregory, and digital, entertainment and technology entrepreneur and investor Ned Sherman, co-founder of Digital Media Wire. Steel Curtain U represents 19 conferences and the CCCAA, encompassing more than 340 colleges, 3.5M students, and 10.3M alumni. For more information, visit SteelCurtainU.com.