A BACKYARD FOR ALL

EaDo scores massive dog-friendly patio bar from Dynamo legend Brian Ching

This is Ching's second bar in Houston. Photo by Eric Sandler

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

He'll forever be known as the Houston Dynamos first true franchise player, the name that put professional soccer back on the map in Houston. But with his latest move, former Major League Soccer icon Brian Ching may now be known as a bonafide bar star.

Ching, who also owns Pitch 25 Beer Park, has announced plans for East End Backyard, his second bar in Houston's East Downtown neighborhood. The EaDo spot is projected to open this fall at 1105 Sampson St., and promises to be a "casual, dog-friendly neighborhood bar and backyard for the flourishing EaDo area," according to a release. Ching launched Pitch 25 with the development firm the Kirby Group; with East End, he'll venture out on his own.

Ching's latest bar will boast a 20,000-square-foot patio, community garden, and will offer up lawn games, live local music, events, and food trucks. The concept for the new indoor/outdoor community hub was revealed via a campaign on the Houston-based crowdfunding site, NextSeed.

East End Backyard will serve both local and domestic beers from its full bar, as well as house specialty cocktails made with produce grown in its own community garden, according to the release. Ching says in a statement that he plans to grow the space beyond the initial footprint with additional food and beverage tenants — which could make for a big EaDo draw.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about Brian Ching's thoughts on the EaDo neighborhood and more.

Houston-based Mainline has announced new partnerships with a few universities. Jamie McInall/Pexels

This article originally appeared on InnovationMap.

A Houston esports platform has announced that four universities — including one in town — have made moves to optimize the company's technology.

Texas A&M University, the University of Texas - Austin, Louisiana State University, and Houston's own University of St. Thomas have made a deal with Mainline. The company, which just closed a $9.8 million series A round, is a software and management platform for esports tournaments.

The four schools will use the software to host and grow their on-campus esports communities, according to a news release.

"These are top universities seeing the value of esports on-campus and making a choice to support their students' desires to play and compete — much like in traditional sports," says Chris Buckner, CEO at Mainline, in the release. "Adoption of Mainline is validation of the opportunity to engage students and the broader community with a compelling esports platform, as well as strengthen a school's brand, provide additional partnership opportunities and market their initiatives"

While UST has is still in the process of utilizing Mainline for its esports platform to grow its program and will use the software for its first tournament in 2020, A&M first used Mainline's software this past spring, but has doubled down on its commitment to esports.

"Texas A&M recognizes the significant esports presence on campus and the importance of supporting this thriving student community. Mainline allows us to maintain the brand continuity of the university, and to drive incremental inventory and value for sponsors," says Mike Wright, director of public relations and strategic communications at Texas A&M Athletics, in the release.

The platform provides its clients with an easy way to manage, monetize, and market their tournaments.

At UT, the school's administration, along with its Longhorn Gaming Club, is currently running two tournaments on Mainline: Rocket League and League of Legends.

"Texas has had a long established esports community on campus, and our partnership with Mainline will enable us to more closely work with Longhorn Gaming to better support this audience to benefit our students and partners," says Mike Buttersworth, director of the Center for Sports Communication and Media at UT, in the release.

Continue on InnovationMap to learn about the esports tournament that's running at LSU.

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