LOS ANGELES, September 9, 2020 - NXT UP Esports launches today to create the premier recreational youth esports league platform. Founded on the idea that essential life lessons can be learned from the communication, teamwork and drive to achieve a common goal necessary to succeed in competitive gaming, NXT UP Esports leagues and programs will focus on teaching players the fundamental in-game and out-of-game skills to elevate their lives to the next level.
Founded by former TSM (Team SoloMid) Director of Partnerships, Luke Zelon, NXT UP will provide young players with the opportunity to compete, learn, and have fun in an organized league with high level coaches, weekly practices, and games. NXT UP Esports leagues have taken the best practices from professional esports teams and leagues and combined them with traditional sports structure.
“I’m excited young gamers will now have a place where they can have fun playing the games they love in a structured, competitive environment. So many important lessons about life can be taught by being a part of a team and working towards a shared mission. From my own experiences working at TSM and playing in recreational sports when I was a kid, I know how beneficial being a part of a team is for personal growth and development.” - Luke Zelon, Founder.
All NXT UP Esports programs will be co-ed. The organization aims to build a community of inclusion to fight against the social stigma that video games aren’t for women. Far too often, women are ridiculed and bullied for playing video games. NXT UP Esports believes this leads to the under-representation of women as professional players and as employees in the gaming industry, including on the executive level.
NXT UP Esports has also partnered with GaZoom, a highlight capturing app, to give players immediate access to their top plays from practices and games they can instantly share with their friends. Top clips from each week will be announced and highlighted on the NXT UP Esports social channels.
As a way to give back and advance the gaming community, a portion of participation fees will go to the NXT UP Esports Scholarship Program, a program designed to provide college students interested in a career in gaming or esports with financial resources to pursue relevant courses of study. Applications for the scholarship program will open in January 2021 for the following school year. The program is open to current and incoming students.
Registration for the Fall 2020 League featuring League of Legends opens today. The first league is open to players aged 13-15 ranked Iron, Bronze, and Silver. Additional game titles and skill levels will be supported in future seasons.
For more information, go to www.nxtupesports.com or @nxtupesports on all social media platforms.
MORE ON THE FOUNDER, LUKE ZELON:
Luke Zelon has been in the esports and traditional sports industries his entire career. Most recently, he was the Director of Partnerships at TSM (Team SoloMid), the winningest esports team in North America. There, he was responsible for ushering in and managing corporate partnerships with some of the organization's largest partners including Logitech G, Lenovo Legion, Venmo, Nerf, Chipotle, Herman Miller, and HTC. Prior to joining TSM, Luke worked on the partnership team for LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club). He focused on technology, automotive, and hospitality partnerships as the club entered into its first ever season in the MLS and at the brand new Banc of California Stadium. Before LAFC, he worked in the business development group at Catalyst Sports & Media, an esports focused brand marketing and consulting agency. The group aided the Golden State Warriors in their successful bid to secure a franchise spot in the LCS. Luke graduated from Harvard University and played on the football team all four years.