After years of being indifferent at best to the Super Smash Bros. tournament scene, Nintendo of America has announced a new partnership that will see the debut of the first officially-licensed Smash tournament series.
The news came via a surprise press release on Thursday morning. Nintendo has teamed with Panda Global, a Detroit-based esports brand, to create an as-yet-unnamed championship circuit for players of both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch and its 2001 GameCube predecessor Super Smash Bros. Melee.
“This partnership with Panda Global is the next step in Nintendo’s efforts to create a more consistent, fun and welcoming competitive environment for our players and fans,” wrote Bill Trinen, senior director of product marketing at Nintendo of America, in the press release. “We are proud to stand with an organization like Panda Global to celebrate and support the ever-growing competitive Super Smash Bros. community and create a space where all players can test and hone their competitive skills.”
The unnamed circuit is currently planned to be restricted to the U.S., with Canadian and Mexican players eligible to enter once “Panda Global and Nintendo have deemed international travel and attendance at in-person events to be permissible.” In the meantime, players from the USA will compete online in qualifying rounds.
Nintendo and Panda Global have yet to reveal the competitive circuit’s events, schedule, and potential prize pool, but promise to do so “in the