The National Association of College Esports (NACE) has expanded its initial partnership with Hi-Rez Studios from May. Together, they will now host college national championships for both SMITE and Paladins.
Starting in September of this year, the college competitions are open to both varsity and club-level university squads. These competitions will lead to national championships in November, which will take place at DreamHack Atlanta with $50,000 (£38,349.75) in scholarship prizes each.
Todd Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Hi-Rez Studios said: “We are always eager to support competitive communities where there is player appetite. We have been working closely with NACE on varsity esports since May and they are doing an amazing job putting structure and regulation around college esports competition. We are thrilled to further extend our partnership with this official NACE championship for both Smite and Paladins.”
It’s said that these championships will be broadcast “to live-streaming platforms” which alludes to more than one platform being used – though none have been revealed at this point. It’s worth noting that Hi-Rez Studios entered an exclusive partnership with Mixer earlier this year for SMITE’s professional leagues, while the Paladins Premier League is broadcast exclusively on Facebook.
Michael Brooks, Executive Director of NACE added: “We excited to be working so closely with Hi-Rez on this fall college season and championship event. Partnering with publishers is critical for the growth of collegiate esports and Hi-Rez is one of the first publishers to recognize and address this need.”
The initial partnership between NACE and Hi-Rez Studios allowed the latter to organise competitions at varsity-level. There’s no mention of Hi-Rez Studios’ latest esports effort, Realm Royale, as of yet.
Esports Insider says: Seeing competitions of this level for collegiate esports is encouraging, and it’s good to see the developer of the titles getting so involved. The support will undoubtedly help deliver a good experience for students.