- Bracket Reveal Kickoff to Air Sunday, April 19 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2
- Matches Will Air on ESPN Digital and Social Platforms April 20-25; Championship to Air April 26 on ESPN2
April 16, 2020 – ESPN announced today the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament, featuring athletes, celebrities and ESPN talent. The tournament will kick off Sunday, April 19 with a bracket reveal show at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2, before all matches move to ESPN digital and social platforms, including ESPN Esports Twitch and YouTube, ESPN Twitter and the ESPN app. Matches will air each day at noon ET starting on Monday, April 20.
The tournament, executed and produced with PlayVS and Nerd Street Gamers, is a single elimination bracket played on the latest installment in the popular EA SPORTS Madden NFL franchise, Madden NFL 20. The winner will receive a donation to Feeding America in their name following the championship on April 26 at 12 p.m., airing on ESPN2 and hosted by ESPN’s own Field Yates and Arda Ocal.
The tournament is also part of ESPN’s commitment to bringing the sports community together through its #oneteam initiative and EA’s “Stay Home. Play Together.” initiatives, helping the gaming community find more ways to connect through play during a time where people need to be physically apart.
“Like our broader content efforts on digital and social platforms, esports and gaming are core to our audience expansion priority,” said Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of social & digital content at ESPN. “We remain committed to serving all fans, and the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament is a great way to show that, even though participants are competing against each other, they are all on #oneteam.”
“Producing the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament is a natural progression for Nerd Street Gamers as traditional sports and esports continue to converge. I grew up watching ESPN every day and seeing our brand on there will be a dream come true. Esports is playing a major role in bringing people together during these difficult times and we are excited to work with PlayVS and ESPN for this tournament going towards a great cause.”John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers.
“ESPN is sports. It’s the north star for everything relevant, exciting, and compelling about the world of sports. As esports adoption grows, we’re fortunate to run a tournament like the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament that furthers visibility on such a culturally significant stage,” said Delane Parnell, CEO and founder of PlayVS. “All of the reasons we love sports — competition, community, teamwork, stories — are the same reasons we love esports. ESPN shining a light on these things is important, exciting and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Confirmed participants in the Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament (in alphabetical order) are:
- Cam Jordan – New Orleans Saints defensive end
- Chris Weidman – UFC athlete and former middleweight champion
- Daniel Cormier – UFC athlete and former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion
- DeAndre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals wide receiver
- Devonta Freeman – NFL running back
- Drew Lock – Denver Broncos quarterback
- Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – Baltimore Ravens wide receiver
- Katie Nolan – ESPN host, Always Late with Katie Nolan
- Lil Yachty – rapper, singer and songwriter
- Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos running back
- Omar Raja – ESPN digital and social content commentator
- Pat McAfee – ESPN analyst and contributor
- Snoop Dogg – rapper, producer, entrepreneur, and actor
- Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills wide receiver
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs tight end
- YG – rapper and actor
For more information on the ESPN Madden NFL 20 Celebrity tournament, please visit espn.com/esports.
About Nerd Street Gamers
Nerd Street Gamers (NSG) is a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers. The company promotes greater access to the esports industry, laying a national framework for esports talent development and high-quality gaming tournaments. NSG has received backing from Five Below, Comcast, SeventySix Capital, Elevate Ventures, and angel investor George Miller. For more information, follow @nerdstgamers on Twitter or visit nerdstgamers.com.
About Esports at ESPN
ESPN has a long history of delivering live programming, coverage and content to esports fans. It televised and streamed the Overwatch League playoffs and Grand Finals alongside Disney XD in addition to televising the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 18 Championship Series with Disney XD. In 2019, ESPN Events hosted the first-ever Collegiate Esports Championship at Comicpalooza in Houston and also put on two owned and operated events featuring EA’s Apex Legends in conjunction with The ESPYS and X Games Minneapolis 2019. The network also delivered the Street Fighter V World Championship and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U from Evo 2017, as well as hosted the X Games Rocket League Invitational from X Games Minneapolis 2017, and the FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series across ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3. In 2016, ESPN2 aired the Capcom Cup 2016 Street Fighter V Final in December, the Street Fighter V World Championship in July, and the Madden NFL 16 Championship from EA Play in June. In addition, ESPN X Games teamed up with Xbox to bring Halo 5: Guardians to X Games Aspen 2016, as part of the Halo World Championship Tour.
Since 2016, ESPN.com has also delivered year-round coverage through a dedicated esports vertical featuring some of the most voices in esports. Previously, ESPN3 carried live coverage of BlizzCon and The International Dota 2 Championships in 2014 and 2015, as well as the 2014 League of Legends tournament. The network also previously delivered exclusive live coverage of Heroes of the Dorm in 2015 and 2016, with the final airing live on ESPN2, and the 2015 tournament being the first ever live, televised coverage of a collegiate esports event for ESPN.
PlayVS is the leading amateur esports platform. It is the single community where players come together to compete, fans gather to spectate and coaches manage their programs. Through strategic partnerships with the NFHS and state associations, the PlayVS varsity product allows students to compete for a state championship in Rocket League and League of Legends. Partnerships with top game publishers enable the PlayVS club product to power high school esports league play across the nation in other titles like Fortnite and SMITE. PlayVS College currently operates national league-based competition for Fortnite. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has raised more than $96 million since its founding in January 2018. For more information, visit www.playvs.com.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company develops and delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, mobile devices and personal computers.
In fiscal year 2019, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $4.95 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Apex Legends™, The Sims™, Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Titanfall™ and Plants vs. Zombies™. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news.
EA SPORTS, Battlefield, Apex Legends, The Sims, Need for Speed, Titanfall and Plants vs. Zombies are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. FIFA is property of its respective owners and used with permission.
Olivia Wilson, ESPN