As reported by WWG, Big Ten Network have teamed up with Riot Games to announce the creation of the BTN League of Legends season, starting on January 30 and being broadcast on the LoL site and BTN2Go, as well as the Big Ten Network.
"We are thrilled to be taking the next step into esports with the season-long BTN League of Legends competition," BTN VP of marketing Erin Harvego said. "We are confident that, together with Riot, we can build a successful platform for future esports intercollegiate competition."
In terms of formatting and rules, each of the 12 teams in this league must have six players who are full-time students in "good academic standing", and players will also receive $5,000 US dollars in scholarship money. This money has to be towards academic costs such as fees and tuition, however, and is strictly not payment for playing. So far the teams in the league include Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, and more.
This is the first time Riot Games has partnered with a national collegiate network for a competition spanning an entire season, and Michael Sherman of Riot Games, handler of the competitive college program, believes BTN are a good choice. "The Big Ten Universities are not only historical leaders in college athletics, they are home to some of our biggest and most passionate college League of Legends communities," Sherman said. "We're thrilled to see the growth in popularity of professional League of Legends, and now we want to give collegiate fans at the Big Ten Universities the same opportunity to share their passion in BTN League of Legends."
There are East and West divisions planned, and each will play each other in a round robin format, not unlike professional LoL, with the top four teams competing in elimination brackets until one team from each division is left. Then, the finals will be played on the campus of Riot Games on March 27, the champion going on to enter the LoL Collegiate Championships.
Is this partnership a good way to get college-level players into LoL?