KemperLesnik Expands Maui Invitational Brand through Successful Collegiate Esports Rocket League Tournament
Written By: Hauk Nelson
KEMPERLESNIK EXPANDS MAUI INVITATIONAL BRAND THROUGH SUCCESSFUL COLLEGIATE ESPORTS ROCKET LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
CHICAGO (Dec. 18, 2020) – The Maui Esports Invitational Featuring Rocket League and Delivered by goPuff, hosted virtually Nov. 19-22, marked the first-ever expansion of the premier collegiate basketball tournament, the Maui Invitational, into esports. The first iteration of the event was a success, garnering more than 150,000 viewers each day across ESPN channels and Twitch, totaling more than 1.1 million views overall. The event peaked at more than 52,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch.
The invitational was run by organizers of the 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational, Chicago-based sports marketing and events agency KemperLesnik, and produced in partnership with Estars Studios, a leading independent production company for esports and gaming events. The event saw twenty collegiate esports teams compete in Rocket League, a three-versus-three competition where teams play soccer using rocket-powered cars, from developer Psyonix.
“We were thrilled to bring the competition of the Maui Invitational off the court and online through the inaugural Maui Esports Invitational,” said Scot Thor, Vice President at KemperLesnik. “As the Maui Esports Invitational grows, we continue to reach an expanded audience, offering our sponsors new opportunities and increased value partnering with the Maui Invitational brand. Planning for the 2021 tournament is already underway with double the bracket size.”
Held virtually, the competition included seven teams mirroring those from the 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational, eleven leading esports programs and two teams decided through an East and West regional qualifying competition. After a series of intense matches, Northwoods University quickly advanced through the qualifiers and went on to defeat University of Missouri in the finals, broadcast on ESPN2, winning scholarships and prizes from sponsors HyperX and ASUS.
“We’re honored to have won the first Maui Esports Invitational,” said Northwood Esports Director and Head Coach Cody Elsen. “As a fan of the Maui Invitational basketball tournament, it was great to see Maui Invitational extend into esports, reaching schools of all sizes.”
Kelsey Schroeder | Kelsey.Schroeder@kemperlesnik.com | 815-979-7665
About the Maui Invitational
In December 1982, then No. 1 ranked Virginia, led by National College Player of the Year Ralph Sampson, played little-known NAIA Chaminade University in Honolulu while on the way back from a trip to Tokyo. The Silverswords stunned Virginia 77-72 in what is recognized as the greatest upset in college basketball history. Two years later, in 1984, Chaminade University hosted the first Maui Invitational and it has proven to be the premier early-season college basketball tournament for 36 years running. Each year, the Maui Invitational attracts the top programs, best-known coaches and most outstanding players to compete in an exciting atmosphere that sets the tone for the college basketball season.
KemperLesnik is a sports marketing, events and public relations agency. Ranked by Crain’s Chicago Business among Chicago’s top PR agencies, KemperLesnik produces integrated communications programs, owns and operates major national events, including the Maui Invitational, the McDonald’s All American Games, the POWERADE Jam Fest, and activation and public relations for KitchenAid and its PGA of America partnership. KemperLesnik has operated the Maui Jim Maui Invitational since 1990. For more information, visit www.kemperlesnik.com.