| | Thursday, September 07th, 2023 |


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Six BIG EAST Member Schools to Face Off in Weekly Conference Matchups Beginning Spring 2024

KANSAS CITY, MO. (September 7, 2023) – The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), in its ongoing partnership with Playfly Esports, is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the BIG EAST Conference. This partnership will establish a brand new conference-based playing model for participating schools. Beginning with the Spring 2024 season, six BIG EAST schools will compete head-to-head in two prominent esports titles, leading up to a live conference championship.

“The BIG EAST Conference began officially participating in collegiate esports in 2018,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “Since then, we have seen exciting competitions in a variety of titles culminating in our first in-person championship hosted last year. With this move NACE Starleague, our students will have the opportunity to take BIG EAST Esports to the next level. We appreciate our relationship with NACE and Playfly and look forward to growing together in the future.”

NACE Starleague will host teams from Butler University, Villanova University, Creighton University, DePaul University, St. John’s University, and Seton Hall University to compete in both Rocket League and League of Legends conference-based play. The Spring season will run in a round robin format, with weekly conference matchups that will seed the conference championship bracket. The conference play model is a first for Playfly Esports and NACE, who collectively operate the largest collegiate esports league in North America in NACE Starleague.

“Our continued mission at Playfly Esports is to build more sustainable competitive esports programs at every scholastic level,” said Charles O’Donnell, Head of Playfly Esports. “We are thrilled to be working directly with the team at the BIG EAST to actualize a conference-style playing model that mimics that of more traditional stick-and-ball sports. The BIG EAST comes with a passionate and dedicated fan base and we look forward to solidifying esports as part of the conference’s makeup for years to come.”

“The participation of the BIG EAST in collegiate esports underscores the evolving landscape of sports and competition,” said Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the National Association of Collegiate Esports. “Our partnership bridges the gap between conventional sports and modern technology, allowing their universities to tap into a wider spectrum of student interests. The BIG EAST’s involvement in NACE Starleague showcases a forward-thinking approach that enriches the overall university experience and sets a precedent for embracing the future for all athletic conferences.”

All BIG EAST Rocket League matchups, and select League of Legends matches, are set to stream live via the NACE Starleague Twitch channel.
NACE Starleague has continued to grow monumentally, currently tracking 70% year-over-year growth, with nearly 18,000 participating student-athletes, and over 750 schools and universities.


About The BIG EAST Conference

The BIG EAST Conference is an association of 11 nationally prominent colleges and universities that foster healthy athletic competition, community service and the pursuit of excellence in academic environments. The BIG EAST-sponsored athletic programs of our institutions provide national-caliber participation opportunities for more than 3,800 student-athletes on over 200 men’s and women’s teams in 22 sports. Established in 1979 and headquartered in New York City, the BIG EAST’s members are located in eight of the country’s top 36 largest media markets and include Butler University, University of Connecticut, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University. For more information, visit

About The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE)

The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) operates as a nonprofit membership association, organized by and on behalf of member institutions. These member institutions collectively work on the development of essential structures and tools required for the advancement of collegiate esports within the varsity domain. Collaboration takes place in various key areas, namely Eligibility, Path to Graduation, Competition, and Scholarships. NACE holds the distinction of being the largest association of varsity esports programs across North American colleges and universities.

About Playfly Esports

Playfly Esports is helping to reshape how entertainment is consumed by younger generations with new methodologies for advertisers that connect their brands with all gaming fans. We deliver scalable, media solutions that can directly place sponsors into the spotlight of the fastest-growing industry on the market, while monetizing custom built events capable of adapting to the consistently, all consuming streaming-based content sector of digital entertainment. Following the success of the college league, NACE Starleague, Playfly Esports has turned its focus towards new business lines around the high school, amateur, and professional esports categories.