The Madden NFL 16 Championship, the first of the EA Major events, kicks off live on ESPN 2 at 3 pm PT today and can also be streamed via EA, Twitch or YouTube. Meet Madden Commissioner Matt Marcou, here to get you in the game.
As Commissioner, what are your roles and responsibilities?
Like our competitors, I assemble my own team of all-stars. “Building a sport” requires a fun and polished game, high-quality broadcast production, knowledgeable and entertaining talent, on-call engineers and QA, crisp marketing, and a little bit of luck. I have to keep all aspects of the product into consideration and roll up my sleeves when need be.
If there’s anything that I hold sacred above all, the fairness and integrity of the competition must be incontestable. Game imbalances must be addressed, cheaters must be dealt with (and hopefully rehabilitated), and the rules must be practical and clear.
Getting to work in competitive gaming seems like a dream come true! How did you become the Commissioner of the Madden Championship?
I’ve been a competitive gamer all of my life. I played in my first high score competition over 24 years ago (Cool Spot for the Sega Genesis) in addition to Nintendo Powerfest and the Blockbuster World Video Game Championship.
I started organizing online and live tournaments about 15 years ago and never stopped. I was called up to the “big leagues” in 2010 when I put together the inaugural League of Legends World Championship and later designed the League of Legends Championship Series for EU and NA.
Looking at today’s competition, just how good are these Madden players?
Literally, they are one in a million. More than a million Madden players competed in Madden ranked modes between February and May. Of those, the top 256 players competed in online elimination tournaments, and we brought the top 16 live to the Championship weekend in Los Angeles.
Typically, these guys win 75 to 90 percent of games against even the fiercest competition. Eric “Problem” Wright is famous for win streaks between 200 and 300 games! I don’t have the math on that, but it’s probably as rare as an EA press conference starting on time.
Why was the decision made by EA for the mode to be MUT: Salary Cap (MUT:SC) for the tournament? And how does MUT:SC affect their strategies?
MUT:SC creates a game before the game by allowing competitors to construct a team with the NFL player items they own within a max value of 1,000 points. Competitors must weigh all of their options in developing their game strategy. MUT:SC is regarded as the highest skilled mode as it requires deep game knowledge and ensures that only skill (and not your wallet) affects the outcome. For the Championship, we allow the 16 finalists to build their lineup from ANY of the thousands of player items available in Madden 16.
Which cards have proven the most valuable in MUT:SC mode?
The top picks by competitors in this year’s Madden Championship include strong receivers like Mike Evans, cost-effective quarterbacks like Jared Goff, and next year’s cover athlete Rob Gronkowski at tight end.
How will next year's Madden Championship look different than this year's?
There are $1 million reasons that the Championship will look different! But it’s not all about the Benjamins. EA is investing in better broadcast production, community outreach and game features to ensure a crisp experience for both the competitor and viewer. Additionally, we’ll be bringing partners on board to assist us with the broadcast, venue management and marketing.
Below is a sneak peek at the making of our handcrafted Madden Championship Belt! To see who will leave with the Belt and the bragging rights, watch live today at 3 pm PT as we crown the Madden NFL 16 Champion.