On Monday, the Baltimore Ravens announced a new gaming league, the Ravens Gaming League.
The Raven’s gaming league hopes to unite fans of the Ravens and the NFL through different video game competitions and activities. Starting on June 25, Raven’s gaming league is hosting a Fortnite tournament. Following the inaugural Fortnite tournament will be a Madden NFL 22 tournament to be held on a later date this summer.
As part of the launch of the Ravens Gaming League, the Ravens joined into a multi-year partnership with Esports Entertainment Group as the tournament provider for the league.
“Our esports tournament platform continues to gain strong traction among top-tier professional sports franchises,” Esports Gaming League GEO Grant Johnson said. “We are delighted to add the Ravens as our first NFL partner to live on our platform.”
Esports Gaming League was founded in 2005 and helped forge the direction of the world behind Esports. The goal of the league is to create an online arena where players have the ability to compete in leagues that are ideal for their skill level for the best experience regardless of platform.
The winner of the tournament will be awarded $500 in cash, a Ravens VIP home game experience, which includes hotel, transportation, and Ravens gear, as well as an opportunity to play video games against a Raven player.
Joining a Trend
The Ravens are the latest of many professional sports organizations to fully enter the esports industry in the last several years. The Ravens join fellow NFL franchises, the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots as partners with the Esports Entertainment Group.
The Eagles were the first NFL team to partner with Esports Entertainment Group in December, also as a tournament platform. It is expected more teams will follow in the Eagles, Broncos, Patriots, and Ravens footsteps.
“We are excited to launch this new initiative and explore the benefits for our fans,” Ravens senior vice president of marketing Brad Downs said. “The gaming and esports industry offers unique opportunities to engage with our fan base, in addition to Ravens Players who have shown interest in gaming and esports.”
Registration for the Fortnite tournament opened on Monday, with the first 500 players to register receiving an official Ravens headband and prizes and giveaways to be awarded throughout the tournament.
A Growing Interest in Popular Games
Fortnite took a stranglehold on the gaming industry in 2018 as one of the esports most competitive games. Since 2018, Fortnite, a battle royale-style game, has been able to create a strong following among sports fans through different sports-themed skins that characters are able to wear.
In 2020, the NFL and Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, extended a partnership to bring the NFL-themed outfits. The agreement also brought NFL branding to Gridiron Gang and NFL content to the popular remote control car soccer-based game, Rocket League.
While Fortnite has gained popularity in recent years, EA Sports Madden NFL games have long been the leader in professional football games. Madden debuted all the way back in 1989 and was able to outlet competitors like Tecmo Bowl and the 2K Sports branded NFL games of the early 2000s.
Madden tournaments have been a regular form of competition in tournament form for sports gamers dating back to the mid-2000s. However, in recent years fans of the franchise have complained about a lack of innovation in the game, with many game modes not experiencing many changes or alterations. Still, though, Madden has been able to sign regular contract extensions with the NFL to continue producing games.
With esports becoming more popular across the country, more professional teams are expecting to brand with the growing industry.
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