The whole world is shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic but losing the NCAA March Madness was more than Jackson Weimer and Josh Safran could bear.
Weimer is a recent University of Delaware graduate about to start a new job in the gaming industry and Safran is a sophomore media studies major at Temple University with a focus on sports journalism.
As the two returned to their homes in Doylestown, and mourned the loss of the NCAA tournament, an idea was born.
What started as a joke quickly turned into a reality. They would take their xbox360 EA Sports NCAA Basketball 2010 game (the last year EA Sports made the NCAA video game) and create their own bracket with all the current players and teams and then play the tournament for the world to watch.
They are operating under the Twitter handle @coronamadness and their broadcasts will air on Twitch at twitch.tv/ebaumsworld. Weimer’s new employer, Ebaum’s World, a subsidiary of Literally Media, is hosting the broadcasts. Twitch is a live streaming platform for gamers operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.
“The idea is that our streams replace March Madness for college basketball fans,” Weimer and Safran explained. “Fans can even fill out a bracket and watch how their teams do.”
Safran and Weimer got to work converting the Weimer family basement to an impromptu studio and recruiting their production team, Louis Weimer, Jackson’s brother, home from the University of Pittsburgh, and friend Ryan Gunsiorowski, home from Penn State University.
The tournament began Wednesday, March 18 and runs through Sunday, March 22 on the Twitch platform. Weimer and Safran plan to play most of the games themselves but will also invite experienced NCAA gamers to play some of the games as special guests.
The selection show aired at 5 p.m. Sunday March 15, revealing the 64 teams in the tournament. The show can be viewed on YouTube at youtu.be/q6KerUX4jEU. Their twitter channel @coronamadness includes all information about game times and a bracket for those who want to play along. The live streaming of the selection show and games air on twitch.tv/ebaumsworld. Anyone can watch; no subscription is required.