The NFL will host the inaugural Madden NFL 21 x HBCU Tournament in partnership with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAA), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The tournament will connect HBCU communities and encourage competition among the most talented Madden NFL players. The tournament is open to all registered students at SWAC, MEAC, SIAC, and CIAA institutions.
Registered players will represent their school's conference in a single elimination qualifier tournament. The top four qualifiers from each conference — a total of 16 players — advance to the NFL Madden x HBCU Showcase to be held Super Bowl week. The tournament is one of several NFL programs that recognize and strengthen its relationships with HBCUs across the country.
"This tournament is all about engaging student bodies across Historically Black Colleges and Universities," said Rachel Hoagland, head of gaming & eSports at the NFL. "We are committed to providing opportunities and fostering a welcoming environment for students who are passionate about games like Madden NFL 21. Throughout the year, we have collaborated with the four conferences on several initiatives and are looking forward to further enhancing our relationship. This tournament is a unique opportunity for students who are passionate about games like Madden NFL 21 to engage with the NFL and we are excited to work with Nerd Street Gamers."
Nerd Street Gamers is responsible for creating a seamless experience for all participants of this season-long tournament. The company will lead all operations, including registration, online tournament execution, player communications, competitive integrity, and a live broadcast during the week of the Super Bowl.
"We're honored to lead operations for this inaugural tournament," said John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. "Our HBCU tournaments are pillars of progress that stand for the empowerment of equality and we're proud to be aligned in the effort to make eSports more inclusive. Partnering with a prestigious organization like the NFL ensures that this opportunity will have a positive and lasting impact. I can't wait for the competitions!"
Interested students from schools in those conferences can now register here to compete in the tournament for free with a chance to win cash prizes.
The schedule for the qualifiers is as follows:
For the final tournament rounds during Super Bowl week, Nerd Street Gamers — with their expertise in eSports production and management — will execute compelling live programming for the final competition featuring the top players in a live broadcast.
Fans can tune in to the broadcast on Nerd Street Gamers' Twitch. The tournament will also be streamed on NFL Twitch and YouTube.
Learn more about the NFL's history with HBCUs.