By: Aaliyah Seabrooks, Staff Reporter
The National Football League (NFL) announced the return of the Madden NFL 22 x HBCU Tournament to celebrate HBCU athletes.
Registration is open until Dec. 3 for students at 48 HBCUs to participate in an online single elimination qualifier for a chance to compete in the NFL Madden x HBCU Showcase during Super Bowl Week in Los Angeles. Players can register to compete in the tournament here.
Sixteen finalists will be able visit the new NFL west coast headquarters, shadow NFL leaders for a day and engage with various EA staff in different departments. All participants will receive networking and professional development opportunities, but the two top finalists will receive cash prizes and have their match released on the NFL’s Youtube and Twitch channels on Feb. 12, 2022, along with other NFL Super Bowl content.
“We are so thrilled to bring back this tournament for HBCU students and offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience to come to Los Angeles during Super Bowl LVI Week,” Natara Holloway, the vice president of football strategy at the NFL, told the Associated Press.
“We want to expand the League’s efforts to create inclusive opportunities for the next generation of talent with partners like EA providing not only a chance for students to compete, but also the chance to learn the business of football through practical learning and shadowing experiences,” she continued.
The “Strength of HBCUs: Impacting Pro Football Since 1948” initiative was launched in May of 2016 in partnership with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and has since grown to include other conferences. This move not only has aided in recognizing connections and relationships between HBCUs, but has led to the development of several new programs focused on educating students on careers in football administration and the sports industry at large.
NFL partner, Gaming Community Network, Inc. (GCN), will be managing all operations of this event including the registration, online tournament execution, player communications, competitive integrity and the broadcasting of the match during the week of Super Bowl LVI.
“We are confident our team with deep roots in esports and gaming will deliver an exciting tournament capped off by the exhilaration of competing during Super Bowl LVI,” said Chris Kindt, Chief Marketing Officer offor GCN.
Fans are gearing up not only for an exciting Super Bowl LVI game and with auxiliary events like the NFL Madden x HBCU Showcase, they will not be disappointed in their west coast experience. As the world continues to pivot from a global pandemic, virtual competitions for gamers have maintained popularity and been especially accommodating to COVID-19 precautions.
Copy edited by Ashleigh Fields