A developer's update on our partnership with Learfield and the launch of the LevelNext platform.
Kevin from the Rally Cry team here. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to post a Developer’s Update on any of our projects, but I got the thumbs up from our team to share some of the work we’ve done for our newest partner — Learfield. Today, I’ll be talking about their story, why we picked Learfield as a partner, and how we created a new competition platform for their LevelNext collegiate esports leagues.
Partnering with Learfield & LevelNext Esports
If you those of you that haven’t heard of them, Learfield is a legendary brand marketing rights holder that’s probably best-known for representing hundreds of the biggest collegiate sports properties in the US. They founded an esports division in 2019 called LevelNext to help bring the legitimacy and excitement of traditional sports to a new generation of esports-minded students. LevelNext’s angle is to use their brand connections and resources to help legitimize the collegiate esports space by creating massive free-to-play tournaments with huge prize pools and high-quality broadcasts — designed to provide a national championship experience for all players and impress potential sponsors and school administrators.
While it takes time for any huge organization to hone in on the perfect recipe, we were impressed by the LevelNext team’s vision for an open and sustainable collegiate esports ecosystem that includes athletics departments, major brands, and student-run collegiate programs alike. We’re excited to be able to support the LevelNext team both with our platform expertise and our prior experience in the collegiate space, and — for any collegiate leaders reading this — we’re happy to listen to your feedback on the platform or program and share it with the LevelNext team.
Their first major competition on our platform is the $150,000 Madden National Championship event that starts in less than a week! If you’re a 4-year college student in the US, you can still sign up until Wednesday at midnight.
Building the Platform
When we planned the custom build for LevelNext’s competition platform, we had three major design challenges in mind.
Authenticate 4-year college students for competitive play
Automatically assign students to custom school-based communities
Enable school-specific competitions, sponsor promotions, and licensed assets
Without boring you with too much engineering jargon, I’m happy to say that we were able to solve all three challenges during our 6-week platform launch development cycle. LevelNext players can use their .edu email to verify their student status and are instantly placed into a custom school community page based on their .edu domain.
School pages that fall under an official LevelNext school property are pre-populated with school-specific decorative images and localized sponsor assets. We’re also able to run localized competitions that are only accessible to students for a specific school, which is helpful both for running school-specific qualifiers for national events and for our Challenger Series competitions, which are one-off tournaments that we partner with local student esports organizations or official school administrators to plan, host, and broadcast.
The LevelNext platform is now live at rallycry.gg/levelnext, and we’ve seen over 2,000 students join the community in just under two weeks. Our team has been listening closely to feedback from new users, and we’re excited to continue to develop the platform as a consistent collegiate esports hub for students around the world.
With the LevelNext platform launched and the first week of games starting soon, our competitive operations team is already hard at work preparing for a massive tournament.
Myself and the rest of the platform team are working on a major UX update to our Rally Cry platform coming in early 2022. I’m also hoping to write a Developer Update on our more recent work with the Air Force Gaming team soon, so with any luck, you’ll be hearing from us soon.