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Madden Challenge details finalized

EA's national virtual football tourney starts in Sin City at the end of the month; $100,000 goes to best pigskin player.

The NFL has the Super Bowl, while football gamers have the Madden Challenge. Electronic Arts today released full details on its famed gridiron tournament, and this year, the purse has ballooned up to $100,000 for the grand prize winner.

The fourth annual Madden Challenge will kick off where it ended last year, in Las Vegas, on August 27 at the ESPN Zone on the Las Vegas Strip. The finals this year will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii, on February 10 during the NFL's Pro Bowl festivities. Between those two events, the tournament will visit every city that hosts an NFL team and one that doesn't: Los Angeles. Registration opened up for all regional qualifiers early last week.

There will be two divisions this year, the trash-talking, fight-for-everything Professional Division and the inaugural recreational Rookie Division for casual gamers. The pros will be competing for a place in Hawaii, and the rookies will play 64-player tournaments for "a library of EA games and cool prizes." Registration costs $10 per entrant, and gamers can register in multiple cities.

All games will be played on the Xbox version of Madden NFL 06. Games will vary between two- and four-minute quarters.

The following is a list of locations for this year's Madden Challenge:

Date / City / Location

Saturday, Aug. 27 / Las Vegas / ESPN Zone

Sunday, Aug. 28 / Phoenix / Arrowhead Town Center

Friday, Sept. 2 / Denver / INVESCO Field at Mile High

Sunday, Sept. 4 / Kansas City / Westport District

Saturday, Sept. 10 / Buffalo / Walden Galleria

Sunday, Sept. 11 / Boston / Prudential Center

Friday, Sept. 16 / New York / Chelsea Piers

Saturday, Sept. 17 / New York / Chelsea Piers

Sunday, Sept. 18 / Philadelphia / King of Prussia Mall

Saturday, Sept. 24 / Washington, D.C. / Union Station

Sunday, Sept. 25 / Baltimore / McKeldin Square

Saturday, Oct. 1 / Pittsburgh / Heinz Field

Sunday, Oct. 2 / Cleveland / Tower City Center

Saturday, Oct. 8 / Detroit / Great Lakes Crossing

Sunday, Oct. 9 / Chicago / Navy Pier

Saturday, Oct. 15 / Green Bay / Lambeau Field Atrium

Sunday, Oct. 16 / Minneapolis / Mall of America

Saturday, Oct. 22 / Indianapolis / Castleton Square

Sunday, Oct. 23 / Cincinnati / Newport on the Levee

Saturday, Oct. 29 / St. Louis / St. Louis Mills

Sunday, Oct. 30 / Nashville / Opry Mills

Saturday, Nov. 5 / Charlotte / Concord Mills

Sunday, Nov. 6 / Jacksonville / Jacksonville Landing

Saturday, Nov. 12 / Tampa / Raymond James Stadium

Sunday, Nov. 13 / Miami / Shops at Sunset Place

Saturday, Nov. 19 / Atlanta / Discover Mills

Sunday, Nov. 20 / New Orleans / The Esplanade

Saturday, Nov. 26 / Houston / Houston Galleria

Sunday, Nov. 27 / Dallas / Valley View Center

Saturday, Dec. 3 / San Diego / Mission Valley

Sunday, Dec. 4 / Los Angeles / Hollywood & Highland

Friday, Dec. 9 / San Francisco / Metreon

Sunday, Dec. 11 / Seattle / Qwest Field

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