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More than two years in the making, a strategic partnership is now set to catapult historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) into the esports ecosystem. Earlier this fall, the HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) and the world’s largest collegiate gaming league partnered to bring esports and other opportunities to HBCUs.

This weekend, student finalists from 20 HBCUs will compete in NBA2K 21 and Madden NFL 21 for a chance to win $5,000 in scholarships and prizes. The HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic will begin at 4 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 5th. Twitch and Zaxby’s are the presenting partners for the Classic with Twitch serving as the Exclusive Live Streaming Music Partner.

The halftime show will highlight HBCU culture and lifestyle, including live performances by hip-hop and gaming legend Soulja Boy and hosted by radio/tv personality “Fly Guy” DC.

“Twitch looks forward to supporting HBCUs in every way possible including the HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic and future ventures that help drive education in emerging new and digital media,” said Mark “Garvey” Candella, director of student and educational programs at Twitch.

Christened ‘The Yard’ to commemorate the rich legacy of HBCU campus life, the HEA and CSL Esports are working closely with HBCUs to provide an understanding of the esports ecosystem, the vast opportunities within it, as well as bring both casual and serious competitive engagement for their students.

“We are pleased to have great partners like Twitch and Zaxby’s join us in our first event supporting the advancement of HBCUs in the gaming and esports industries,” stated Rod Chappell, general manager/associate commissioner of HEA and CEO of HBCU Direct in Atlanta, GA. “Without partners like them, accomplishing our overall mission of driving workforce development from HBCUs would be impossible. We are already preparing for year two of the Classic.”

CSL Esports, which engages colleges, universities, and high schools to provide an infrastructure that enhances opportunities for students to achieve higher education through esports, is powering the HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic.

“CSL Esports is proud to produce events with HEA: The Yard and a variety of the HBCU schools, especially events that create opportunities for educational advancement,” said Wim Stocks, Chairman of CSL Esports. “We are inspired by the great legacy and culture of HBCU and we are pleased to help provide esports opportunities and engagement that benefit the schools and their students.”

The inaugural HBCU Esports Homecoming Classic will begin at 4 PM EST on Saturday, December 5th on twitch.tv/hbcuesportsyard with the NBA2K21 Championship matches, followed by the halftime show beginning at approximately 6 PM EST hosted by radio/tv personality “Fly Guy” DC and headlined by Soulja Boy.

Following the halftime performance, the Madden NFL 21 Championship matches will close out the event. More info will be available on www.hbcuesportsyard.com and @hbcuesportsyard.

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