Los Angeles-based amateur esports platform PlayVS will host a live event for students tonight at 3:00 – 6:00 pm PST called the PlayVS Live: Gridiron Showdown. The Gridiron Showdown is being hosted in collaboration with the National Football League (who is hosting a number of community events as its gears up for Super Bowl LVIII) and will be held at the HyperX Arena in Las Vegas. The event will feature 100 local students from the Vegas Parks & Rec, NFL legends, and esports content creators.
The Gridiron Showdown will open with a panel featuring former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones and NFL fullback Johnny Stanton, alongside content creators DubDot and TheSketchReal, who will discuss the connective tissue between traditional sports, esports, and essential skills needed for both such as strategy and teamwork.
Following the panel, students take part in a Madden NFL 24 training camp, a competition for the chance to play on the main stage. Those mini-game challenges include “offense, defense, and special teams.” Following that, Jones, Stanton, DubDot, and TheSketchReal will select 10 standout players to join them on the main stage, where they will go head-to-head in Backfield Survival mode, with the goal of avoiding tacklers as running backs. The student with the highest score will come away with a special prize pack. Attendees will also get an activity sheet to share with parents, which will contain a QR code that can be scanned for a chance to win Super Bowl LVIII tickets.
“The NFL is proud to be working with PlayVS to bring their esports program to Las Vegas,” said Renie Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of the NFL, in a release. “We deeply value PlayVS’s commitment to expanding esports access and finding innovative ways to integrate it with professional sports. There’s no better way to commemorate Super Bowl LVIII than by celebrating the values that our NFL teams and esports players share.”
This cooperation with the NFL falls in line with PlayVS’ new business model announced in November that moves away from charging fees to individuals, school, and clubs that want to participate in its grassroots competition program, and instead relies on utilizing funding through partnerships with companies and organizations such as the NFL.
On a related note, PlayVS recently announced that it has extended its partnership with the National Federation of High School Associations through 2028 (financial terms were not disclosed). The NFHS Network is the for-profit arm of the National Federation of High School Associations, which generates revenue from monetizing high school-level sports broadcasts and other rights.