The St. Louis Blues announced the creation of two esports tournaments to be held in the coming weeks.
The Blues have established Blues Gaming, a new esports division that will focus on the creation of engagement opportunities with the gaming and esports community. This includes the announcement of the Blues Gaming NHL 20 High School Championship for St. Louis-area high school teams, and an open division competition called the Blues Gaming NHL 20 Showdown.
The tournaments are being created by the Blues in partnership with Maryville University’s Rawlings Sport Business Management Program. Students in sports business classes at Maryville are assisting the Blues in the development of these tournaments and will also provide operational support while the events are taking place.
Additionally, Maryville has created and will manage the Gateway Esports Association, designed to support and promote members’ esports leagues in the Midwest region.
“This partnership with Maryville is the perfect way for our organization to introduce Blues Gaming and launch esports initiatives for our fans,” said Steve Chapman, St. Louis Blues executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “Our initial focus will be to develop esports programs around NHL 20, and we believe this is a great opportunity for the Blues Gaming brand and the Gateway Esports Association to build strong local programs and activations centered around many other popular gaming titles.”
Tournaments begin the weekend of April 18 and both tournaments will be held entirely online to encourage social distancing. Fans wishing to enter the tournaments may register at stlouisblues.com/esports. There is no fee to enter.
“We are happy our Rawlings Sport Business Management program has provided an opportunity for our students to work with the Blues for several years,” said Jason Williams, assistant dean, director and associate professor of the Rawlings Sport Business Management Program in the John E. Simon School of Business at Maryville. “Our students have learned a great deal working with the Blues to bring this opportunity to their fans.”
The Blues Gaming NHL 20 High School Championship will consist of teams from the Mid-States Club Hockey Association or other area high schools that wish to form a team to compete. Each team will be required to have a minimum of six players. Teams will compete to win the Blues Gaming Cup, a trophy the team can proudly display at their high school until the next competition. Much like the Stanley Cup, the name of the winning school will be etched onto the trophy.
The Blues Gaming NHL 20 Showdown is an open division competition for any individual that would like to compete. This competition will take place on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with one champion being crowned on each console. This will be a 1v1 competition.
The open division champion on each console will receive a team signed jersey and a $100 STL Authentics gift card. The second place winners will receive an autographed player puck and a $50 STL Authentics gift card.
Registration for the NHL 20 Showdown will be available beginning April 3 at stlouisblues.com/esports.
While Blues Gaming will naturally start with NHL 20 competitions, the organization is exploring additional gaming activations locally around other popular titles. More information of these initiatives will come at a later date.
In addition to the Blues, initial members of the Gateway Esports Association also include World Wide Technology Raceway and the Missouri High School Esports Association. Membership is open to other regional sports organizations desiring to engage with the esports community.
“We are pleased to be working with Gateway Esports Association members to foster the growth of esports opportunities for our fans,” said WWTR Owner and CEO Curtis Francois.
About the Rawlings Sport Business Management Program
The Rawlings Sport Business Management Program is a project based experiential learning undergraduate degree at Maryville University in St Louis, Missouri. The program’s signature partner since 2013 is Rawlings Sporting Goods. Ninety-three percent of graduates in the Rawlings Sport Business Management program begin a career in the business of sports within six months of graduation.