NBC Sports will bring back its signature esports property for a second year. NBC, U.K.-based tournament organizer FaceIt Database-Link-e1521645463907 and game developer Psyonix Database-Link-e1521645463907 will again put on the Universal Open Rocket League Database-Link-e1521645463907, a $100,000 prize pool tournament with open qualifying in North America and Europe. Brisk Iced Tea has signed on as the first presenting sponsor of the tournament, which features two-player teams competing in Rocket League, Psyonix’ hit game that has rocket-powered cars playing soccer.
In a change from last year, live competition will not be shown on linear TV. Instead, live competition will be on NBC digital platforms and a to-be-named third party distributor, with linear programming focused on recorded feature and highlights episodes. NBC Sports Ventures Senior VP Rob Simmelkjaer said execs have concluded that hard-core esports fans are conditioned to watch live competition online, but on linear they need to explain more about the contest.“If you’ve just finished a hockey game or a baseball game on an RSN, at least we’re giving it to you in a way you can understand. Not dumbing it down, but presenting it in a way that’s more understandable to a newcomer,” Simmelkjaer said.
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