The Beat

challenge-blog-header-2012-2.jpg POSTED BY Gabe Leon ON Apr 27, 2012

EA SPORTS Challenge Series Live Finals in NYC

The week-long raid of New York City by EA SPORTS continues today with the final championship leg of the EA SPORTS Challenge Series.

The party began on Tuesday as NCAA Football hosted its Draft Night Premiere Party at Manhattan’s Lavo nightclub. RGIII (do we really need to point out that we’re referring to our new cover athlete that is Robert Griffin III?) was on-hand for the media swarm-turned pre-draft party, along with former Heisman Trophy winning running back Barry Sanders and 14 draft prospects who, as of Thursday night, are no longer draft prospects.

Congrats on being drafted into the NFL, fellas. Especially our own RGIII who is now officially a Washington Redskin.

Speaking of the NFL …

One day later in the streets of New York, Madden NFL 13 took the town over with its Times Square cover announcement megaevent in which the franchise revealed that Megatron will appear on its megacover live on ESPN SportsNation. Good times.

Speaking of good times …  

More than 900 gamers are here at Terminal 5, just moments away from kicking off the EA SPORTS Challenge Series and playing for a chance to win a share of $1 million in prizes.

Beginning this morning and running deep into the night, here’s how it will all go down:

In this one day finale ending months of online gaming, the best of the best will battle it out in three separate tournaments featuring Madden NFL 12, FIFA Soccer 12, and NHL 12 on one of the bazillion PlayStation 3 systems set up around this four story gaming palace.

How did the 900 competitors get here you ask?

It all started back in December when the EA SPORTS Challenge Series launched online. Thousands of ballers entered the tourney with the goal of earning an invite to NYC. With three tournaments (one per title) up and running, players simply needed to win six-consecutive matches to earn a seat in the final round.

Easy right?

So if that didn’t make sense, just think World Series of Poker, except with game controllers instead of playing cards.

And a bit more wild.

And not as many players wearing silly sunglasses.

So we’re here in New York waiting to crown our three new champions in what should be a day loaded with exciting stories and events.

For now, it’s game time.

Times three.



Round 1 of the EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship tournament held at Terminal 5 in New York City is “chugging” along (more on the later) after three-plus hours of hardcore gaming.

More than 900 gamers from around the world are still battling it out in multiple head-to-head matches of NHL 12, Madden NFL 12, and FIFA Soccer 12 spread throughout the four story gaming palace in Manhattan to see who advances for a chance to play for a share of $1 million in prizes.

As New Jersey’s DJ NYCIS spins a mix of the hottest hip-hop beats—and a quick word for those under 18: “earmuffs!”—tensions remain relatively calm as the field begins to cut down.


Yes, there were a couple of, “Hey, that guy cheated!” moments, while two others had to be separated for arguing about the pre-game rules. When told that the rules were already set, one of the bullies pulled the language barrier card out. In the end, the two played their FIFA Soccer match like true gentlemen.

Now for the good news: For the half who were eliminated—or will soon be eliminated—they were just told that they can enter their name in a raffle for a chance to play in Round 2.


Two lucky lads were also selected to partake in a fraternity-style beer chugging contest on the main stage.

Did see that one coming.

So what did the winner get? A PlayStation Vita.

Congrats, buddy. Try not to puke on it.

Finally, staying with the “eliminated” and “beer” themes, rumor has it there’s a beer pong tourney set for later today on the patio where the winner can win a small cash pot of $500.

The taxi ride home, however, is on him.


Things are beginning to pick up a bit here at the EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship tournament held at Terminal 5 in New York City.

With Round 2 officially running full throttle, the cheers, ohhs, and ahhs are beginning to get a little louder as half of the original field of 900 battle to move on to the next round.

Well, half of the field plus a large handful of players who were lucky enough to win a raffle that put them back in the tournament.

The NHL 12 bracket is speeding along smoothly, as its field is already down the final 64 players. For Madden NFL 12 and FIFA Soccer 12, well, let’s just say those players are taking their sweet time.

And then there’s the patio upstairs. 

Earlier we mentioned that there was a rumor of a beer pong tournament going on for the players who were eliminated from Round 1. Turns out it’s true … and then some.

Not only is there a beer pong tourney underway with a $500 pot set for the winner, there’s also a Flip Cup tournament with $500 more at stake, and, wait for it, a tourney for the classic game of cornhole.

Um, okay.

On the main floor, the events staff went to the DJ bullpin and called up local spinner Le Roque, who is now taking his turn of dropping the latest hip-hop tracks.

Yep, things are picking up indeed.


Those are the total number of players remaining in the EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship tournament in New York City.

As the temperature inside Terminal 5 begins to rise with the arrival of the Maxim Girls, the best gamers in the world – scratch that – the best of the best players in the world remain to keep their cool.

For the NHL 12 players, every body-check and one-timer allowed in the net will begin to sting a little more as only 16 players are left in the running for the $120,000 grand prize. It’s pressure time on the ice.

As for FIFA Soccer 12, I guess the same can be said here as 32 remain on the pitch in a quest for the $140,000 championship prize.

The biggest pool of players belongs to Madden NFL 12 where its tournament is still in Round 4 with 64 players remaining.

As night falls in NYC, the patio crowd is back inside and all three levels of the gaming palace is filling up.

Yep. It’s starting to feel like a party around here.

Probably because the emcee just announced that Jadakiss will be headlining the show at the conclusion of the tournament.

Oh, and did we mention that the Maxim girls are here?


Ladies and gentlemen, we have our champions!

Well, two of the three anyway.

John Grasso, also known as “grasso101” took home the NHL 12 EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship with an exciting 5-4 victory over Jason Koelle. But you may know him as “one - - shot-“.

And if you do know Mr. Shot, odds are he took you to the cleaners with his Colorado Avalanche.

Still, Koelle was one shot short of a title as Grasso came back from a one goal deficit in the 3rd period, then controlled the action late to win the $140,000 first place prize.

On the pitch, FIFA Soccer kept it “real.”

As in Real Madrid.

Here’s what we mean:

In semifinal No. 1, it was Real Madrid vs. Real Madrid, and Real Madrid vs. Real Madrid in the other semi. In the title game it was … well you get the point.
But when it really came down to it, it was a England vs. Belgium match-up, as two international juggernauts collided in the championship, which totally seems fitting since we’re talking about the world’s beautiful game here.

England’s Adam Winster, or AdamW, was too strong for Bryan Moeyaert of Brugge, who also goes by the moniker of Bryann. With the 2-1 victory, Winster claimed the FIFA Soccer 12 EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship, and brings home the $160,000 first place prize.

Next up, Madden NFL 12, which is still rolling with eight players remaining.



After 18 hours of some of the most intense and impressive gaming, the EA SPORTS Challenge Series has its third and final champion.

And it only took until 3:30am for it to happen.

Good thing we’re in the city that never sleeps.

Earlier we mentioned that John Grasso took home the NHL 12 EA SPORTS Challenge Series championship and England’s Adam Winster was crowned FIFA Soccer 12 champion, Tyler Glen of Toronto wrapped up the day—and night … loooong night—by winning the Madden NFL 12 title after defeating Louisville’s Ronald Casey in the championship game.

With his impressive run, Glen (or fratstar) takes home the $160,000 first place prize.

And after our impressive run, we call it a night.

A looooong night.