ESPN announced today the creation of EXP, a new event series featuring esports competitions at ESPN-owned events. Through a collaboration with Electronic Arts, Apex Legends will continue the series, which kicked off in May at the first-ever Collegiate Esports Championship, at two ESPN events this summer, The 2019 ESPYS and X Games Minneapolis 2019.
EXP competitions will be a mix of professional, collegiate and pro-am formats, with multiple game IP and genres featured across the series. Live event distribution will be via multiple digital platforms including the ESPN app, and a tape-delayed show focused on key moments and storylines will debut across ESPN/ABC linear networks after each event.
“Leaning in to esports represents ESPN’s focus on serving sports fans and expanding audiences,” said Justin Connolly, executive vice president of Disney & ESPN affiliate sales and marketing. “We remain committed to serving gaming fans across all platforms and content types, and Apex Legends is a great title to showcase EXP’s vision of offering world-class live esports events anchored by storytelling and multi-platform distribution.”
In the next confirmed event of the EXP series, ESPN will use Apex Legends, the free-to-play battle royale game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, which surpassed 50 million players in its first month after launch, to bring together celebrities, influencers and athletes in a unique EXP Pro-Am Apex Legends Exhibition in Los Angeles during The 2019 ESPYS week (July 11). Next, ESPN and EA will celebrate some of the best players in the world in the EXP Invitational – Apex Legends at X Games Minneapolis, held August 1-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Apex Legends will be the only esports event showcased at X Games Minneapolis 2019.
From June 12 to 22, ESPN fans will have the opportunity to win a spot to play Apex Legends alongside athletes, celebrities and influencers plus attend the 2019 ESPYS by donating for a chance to win The ESPYS Sweepstakes. Fans can donate to enter beginning June 12 at ebay.com/ESPN.
“We are proud ESPN continues to be at the forefront of the growth and popularity of esports, collaborating with some of the top publishers in the industry including EA for our first-ever esports event series,” said John Lasker, vice president of digital programming at ESPN. “EXP, short for experience, has been central to gaming history, and giving fans a great experience is central to our strategy at ESPN.”
Developed by Respawn Entertainment, Apex Legends delivers a squad-based battle royale experience where players select from one of nine Legends – each with their own unique abilities and playstyles – and the last team standing wins. Combatants can choose from unique characters like Bloodhound, the tracker who can see recent enemy activity on the map, or Lifeline, a battlefield medic who can shield teammates and bring them back from the brink of death. Balanced squads and teamwork are critical, as each Legend is easy to pick up and learn, but challenging to master.
The Collegiate Esports Championship, which kicked off the EXP series, was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center as part of Comicpalooza in Houston. Students from all over North America competed in Overwatch, Street Fighter™ V: Arcade Edition, Hearthstone, StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm at the LAN championship event.
Olivia Wilson, ESPN Communications, 213-405-4145, [email protected]
Kristie Adler, ESPN Communications, 646-547-5637, [email protected]
Devin Bennett, EA / Respawn, 718-687-8615, [email protected]