Ubisoft announce new Tier 2 UK & Ireland Rainbow Six: Siege student-focussed series

Student esports organisers and the publisher are working to try and grow the game's national-level scene

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Ubisoft have announced a new Rainbow Six: Siege series focussed on encouraging student teams to take the step to the national Tier 1 level and create a development pathway for teams.

The programme was announced this week as part of a series of expansions to Siege's esports opportunities, bringing the UK Ireland National Second Division to expand the professionalised scene at a national level. It follows July announcement for the Open Siege Series, expanding qualifiers for Siege's North American league and new structured programmes for Asia Pacific and Europe regions.

Ubisoft have partnered directly with the UK and Ireland's national student esports leagues, the NSE and NUEL, to grow the series at a grassroots or pre-professional level. The British University Esports Championship included Siege this year for the first time after adding it to the list of eligible games in January and 43 out of the 97 participating institutions scored at least one point in Siege. However, overall Siege victors ranked 34th in the ultimate standings despite a 198 point haul in the game and a dominant 46 point lead over Brunel's 152 Siege points.

The BUEC was more decided by well-established games but with the publisher keen to expand the esports scene across the globe, the absence of a UK-based team in Siege's European leagues is particularly striking, given players from the UK are already being picked up by teams there.

The UK and Ireland national-scale Siege league has four teams participating, on par with Germany, Poland, Russia, the Nordic countries and BeNeLux leagues. However, the series is half the size of Spain, France or Hungary's eight-team leagues and more teams being encouraged to reach national Tier 1 level would be the obvious fix to that shortfall.

In their announcement Ubisoft said

With not just the promise of promotion but threat of relegation, the existing four Tier 1 teams (MnM Gaming, NaVi, Cowana Gaming and Demise) also have to step up the national game to avoid losing their status.

Each of the NSE, NUEL and epic.LAN leagues will promote one team, along with a fourth as-yet-unannounced partner league, with promoted teams confirmed on 12th October this year.

There will then be four teams brought to the Tier 2 tournament through open qualifiers taking place on 17th and 18th of October and then finally the demoted teams joining the league will be confirmed on 19th October, running a five-week season including two 'playdays' a week each Thursday and Saturday.

The top four teams of this second-division league will then enter a final playoff, with the two victors heading to the UK Ireland Nationals Tier League, ensuring the Tier 1 league maintains four teams.

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