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#NBA #Esports investment ‘a long-term play’ that will be ‘around for decades’ $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:20 AM on Monday, October 16th, 2017

“This is a massive industry, and we think we have a place in it.

  • Next year, the National Basketball Association will officially enter the world of esports by way of its NBA 2K League
  • Managing director Brendan Donohue has now billed the association’s esports involvement as “a long-term play” that he reckons will span multiple decades.

By Joe Donnelly 4 hours ago

Next year, the National Basketball Association will officially enter the world of esports by way of its NBA 2K League. Managing director Brendan Donohue has now billed the association’s esports involvement as “a long-term play” that he reckons will span multiple decades.

In conversation with Gamesindustry.biz, Donohue suggests the NBA is confident of its place in esports and that the success of the NBA 2K series makes the jump a “logical” step.

“We have great data on NBA fans, and that’s a massive audience,” says Donohue. “We see that NBA fans are more likely to play video games, and actually more likely to engage in esports than fans of other sports. We think there’s a pretty nice marriage here.

“I don’t think you have to be a fan of 2K to enjoy watching. That’s one of our advantages: the NBA 2K game, and basketball more broadly, are globally recognisable. You can watch having never played the 2K game before and understand what’s going on. That gives an advantage with that more casual audience. [Games like League of Legends] are awesome games, but they can be intimidating [to watch] of you’ve never played them.”

Donohue points to the fact League of Legends finals have pulled bigger audiences than the Oscars, and that awareness isn’t something he or his team consider an issue. That said, Donohue also describes revenues as “a secondary goal right now”, and that building scale is their current focus.

He continues: “There’s a significant appetite for the game in the US, but more importantly globally. We have a free version of the game in China that has 34 million registered users. That suggests there’s a global appetite for the game; in fact, I don’t think people understand how big the 2K game is globally.

“This is a long-term play for us. We expect this to be around for decades, so the primary goal is building an audience, doing that in the right way, and creating an environment where our players can be successful. We’re confident the revenues will follow if we do that right.”

The NBA 2K League is set to kick off next year. Gamesindustry.biz’s interview with Donohue in full can be read in this direction.

Source: http://www.pcgamer.com/nba-esports-investment-a-long-term-play-that-will-be-around-for-decades/

Lambton College opens gaming arena, offers cutting-edge #Esports diploma $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 2:23 PM on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

  • It started with a suggestion from the IT department.
  • Now it is part of the curriculum
  • Lambton College is becoming a Canadian leader in the burgeoning world of esports

The college, whose main campus is in Sarnia, Ont., has added esports to its varsity sports lineup — alongside men’s and women’s basketball and soccer — and next year will begin offering a cutting-edge two-year diploma in esports entrepreneurship and administration.

Lambton already has a dedicated gaming space — called the esports arena — with 20 high-end computers up and running. It’s in a prime piece of real estate, right in the middle of campus.

“The feedback’s been excellent, just in terms of the uniqueness of this,” says Rob Kardas, vice-president of student success and campus service at Lambton College.

Lambton believes the course is a door into the largely untapped academic world of esports and a way to differentiate itself from other schools.

Goldman Sachs valued the world of esports at US$500 million in 2016, with expected market growth of 22 per cent annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1-billion business.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment got a first-hand look at the draw of esports when the North American “League of Legends” championship sold out the Air Canada Centre in two days in August 2016.

MLSE, owner of the NBA Raptors, subsequently signed up for the NBA 2K esports league, slated to debut in 2018.

In taking the esports course, Lambton students will study communications, sports marketing, finance, ethical leadership, teamwork, social media, health promotion, entrepreneurship and business development.

Courses will also cover the history of esports, industry hardware/software, game design and computer networking. A practical project course will ask students to use that knowledge to plan, develop and execute real-world esports projects.

The first class is expected to number some 40 students.

Graduates of the course will also have the option of continuing on to the college’s three-year sports and recreation management program.

The Lambton Lions esports teams, meanwhile, will compete against other North American schools in the Collegiate Starleague. Teams were chosen after open tryouts in “Overwatch,” “League of Legends” and “Counter Strike: Global Offensive.”

Dave Mastrobuono, a Sarnia native and Lambton graduate, has been named head coach. A former pro gamer himself, Mastrobuono is a certified service technician at the school.

College officials believe the gaming arena, which cost $140,000 to $150,000 to set up, will add to the social side of student life. It will also be open to the community.

Lambton officials visited Chicago’s Robert Morris University, a leader in the collegiate esports field and the first school to offer gaming scholarships, while putting together their program.

Robert Morris associate athletic director Kurt Melcher, Collegiate Starleague vice-president Neil Duffy, SetToDestroyX gaming team owner Charlie Watson and officials from Twitch, a popular live streaming video gaming platform, were among the industry experts who helped Lambton develop its course.

Rick Brown, a mobile device specialist in the Lambton IT department, was also a key mover in the expansion into esports.

Duffy says Lambton is the first Canadian school to make esports a varsity program, joining more than 40 schools in the U.S.

But other Canadian schools also compete in gaming tournaments. The University of British Columbia, which also has its own gaming lounge, has had great success gaming.

Lambton is using esports researcher James Kozachuk of the University of Central Florida as its “subject matter expert” in the area.

The course itself has met the necessary approval of Lambton’s board of governors, a program advisory committee of industry experts, Ontario’s Credential Validation Service and Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

It was a learning experience for the college.

Donna Church, vice-president, academic, at Lambton, says she like many parents had thought of esports as “that little troll in the basement.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “It’s actually a highly social sport.”

Lambton has 3,500 full-time and some 6,500 part-time students plus some 800 international students. The college is ranked No. 1 in Ontario and No. 3 in Canada in applied research, according to Research Infosource Inc.

Source: http://nationalpost.com/pmn/entertainment-pmn/lambton-college-opens-gaming-arena-offers-cutting-edge-esports-diploma

Esports Entertainment Group $GMBL to Acquire Bet Exchange Software Company #Esports #Gaming #Egambling

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:05 AM on Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Esports large

  • Announced the execution of a Letter of Intent to acquire all of the issued and outstanding securities of Ardmore Investments SP. Z O.O, a subsidiary of Switzerland based gambling software developer Swiss Interactive Software GmbH

ST. MARY’S, ANTIGUA–(Oct 5, 2017) – Esports Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCQB: GMBL) (or the “Company”), a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on eSports wagering and 18+ gaming, is pleased to announce the execution of a Letter of Intent to acquire all of the issued and outstanding securities of Ardmore Investments SP. Z O.O, (“Ardmore”), a subsidiary of Switzerland based gambling software developer Swiss Interactive Software GmbH (“Swiss Interactive”).

ACQUISITION OF SOURCE CODE

Swiss Interactive’s Ardmore is the developer and owner of the source code of the Bet Exchange Software utilized to create the Company’s Esports wagering platform, as well as, other gaming and gambling software. Given the imminent launch of the Esports wagering platform, as well as, the Company’s online gaming expansion plans for the foreseeable future, Esports Entertainment Group made the strategic decision to acquire Ardmore in order to protect the source code from potential competitors and to acquire a proven development team.

Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group, stated, “Owning our bet exchange technology and acquiring the development team behind it significantly strengthens our position within the Esports wagering space. As we are on the verge of launching the world’s first, most secure and transparent Esports bet exchange, the time was right to acquire the core technologies supporting our disruptive business model.”

In connection with the acquisition, the Company will issue 1,750,000 common shares and pay USD $250,000. Ardmore is a Polish corporation with offices in Warsaw, Poland. The transaction is expected to close within four weeks.

This press release is available on our Online Investor Relations Community for shareholders and potential shareholders to ask questions, receive answers and collaborate with management in a fully moderated forum at https://agoracom.com/ir/EsportsEntertainmentGroup

About Esports Entertainment Group

Esports Entertainment Group Inc. is a licensed online gambling company specifically focused on Esports wagering and 18+ gaming. Initially, Esports Entertainment intends to offer bet exchange style wagering on esports events in a licensed, regulated and secured platform to the global esports audience, excluding the US and EU. In addition, Esports Entertainment intends to offer users from around the world the ability to participate in multi-player mobile and PC video game tournaments for cash prizes. Esports Entertainment is led by a team of industry professionals and technical experts from the online gambling and the video game industries, and esports. The Company holds licenses to conduct online gambling and 18+ gaming on a global basis, excluding the US and EU, in Curacao, Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Canada. The Company maintains offices in Antigua. Esports Entertainment common stock is listed on the OTCQB under the symbol GMBL. For more information visit www.esportsentertainmentgroup.com

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity. We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. The safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 protects companies from liability for their forward-looking statements if they comply with the requirements of the Act.

Contact Information

 

Contact:

Corporate Finance Inquiries
Stephen Cotugno
Vice President, Corporate Development
steve@esportsentertainmentgroup.com
201-220-5745

Investor Relations Inquiries
AGORACOM
ESPO@agoracom.com
http://agoracom.com/ir/eSportsEntertainmentGroup

Here’s why professional #sports teams are buying #Esports teams $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:17 AM on Thursday, September 21st, 2017

WATCH VIDEO HERE

  • TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 we sat down with three experts from the esports world to explain why you should start paying attention to the industry.
  • Heather Garozzo, a former competitive Counter Strike player and current Director of Fan Marketing for Team Dignitas, told us what a day in the life of a professional esports player is like.
  • And surprisingly, it’s not all that different from a traditional athlete.

Besides spending upwards of five hours a day practicing, players also work with coachs and study gameplay film, receive media and press training, and even attend mandatory workout sessions to make sure they keep in shape. Most professional teams also employ private chefs to make sure players are eating healthy meals.

The conversation then shifted to the difference between professional sports and esports, and why the sports industry is so focused on getting into the sports business. Stratton Sclavos, a partner at Vision Venture Partners and the former CEO of the San Jose Sharks, explained how traditional sports teams can help esports teams scale and benefit from the lessons that professional sports teams have learned in the past.

And Craig Barry, EVP and Chief Content Officer for Turner Sports, explained the differences between esports broadcasting and traditional sports broadcasting, and how advertisers are getting creative when it comes to targeting esports fans.

Watch the video above to see the full talk and hear more about the world of esports.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/20/heres-why-professional-sports-teams-are-buying-esports-teams/

Invested in Millennial Esports $GAME.ca ? Esports Entertainment $GMBL signed +60 affiliate streamers, with>250M online views, last 30 days

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 4:55 PM on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Esports large

  • Signed over 60 affiliate Esports streamers at gamescom 2017
  • Collectively had over 250 million online video views in the last 30 days
  • Company will be the safest and most secure online Esports gambling site due to being fully licensed and regulated by the SEC
  • Received its Curaçao Egaming License

    VIDEO: eSports Investing AGORACOM at League of Legends Finals

#Esports Entertainment Group $GMBL Signs Over 60 Affiliate Streamers At #gamescom 2017

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:11 AM on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Esports large

  • Signed over 60 affiliate Esports streamers representing an audience of Esports viewers
  • Collectively had over 250 million online video views in the last 30 days

ST. MARY’S, ANTIGUA–(Sep 6, 2017) – Esports Entertainment Group Inc., (OTCQB: GMBL) (or the “Company”), a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on Esports wagering, is pleased to announce that at gamescom 2017, it signed over 60 affiliate Esports streamers representing an audience of Esports viewers which collectively had over 250 million online video views in the last 30 days. gamescom 2017, is the world’s largest event for computer and video games.

As affiliates of the Company, Esports streamers will be able to monetize their respective audiences by earning commissions on all Esports gambling customers registering and playing with Esports Entertainment Group.

Esports Entertainment Group exhibited in a premium 10×20 booth with 8 full-time and part-time employees. The Company demonstrated its Esports betting platform for Esports streamers, which played a significant role in their signings. gamescom 2017, the biggest consumer gaming conference in the world, had approximately 900 exhibitors, 350,000 visitors and 650 journalists from 106 countries attending this year. For the digital gaming world is it considered the meeting point for global companies from the entertainment industry and the international gaming community.

Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group stated “gamescom 2017 far surpassed our expectations. The overwhelming response from Esports streamers has served as further confirmation that our position as the safest, most secure and transparent Esports betting platform on the planet will be very well accepted. We are excited as we are set to launch with all of our new affiliate partners.”

This press release is available on our Online Investor Relations Community for shareholders and potential shareholders to ask questions, receive answers and collaborate with management in a fully moderated forum at https://agoracom.com/ir/EsportsEntertainmentGroup.

About Esports Entertainment Group

Esports Entertainment Group Inc. is a licensed online gambling company specifically focused on eSports wagering. Esports Entertainment intends to offer wagering on eSports events in a fully licensed, regulated and secured platform to the global eSports audience, excluding the United States. In addition, Esports Entertainment intends to offer users from around the world the ability to participate in multi-player video games tournaments online for cash prizes. Esports Entertainment is led by a team of industry and technical experts from the online gambling and video game industries, eSports, marketing, legal and financial professionals. The Company maintains offices in St. Mary’s, Antigua and Barbuda. Esports Entertainment common stock is listed on the OTCQB under the symbol GMBL. For more information please visit www.esportsentertainmentgroup.com.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity. We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. The safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 protects companies from liability for their forward-looking statements if they comply with the requirements of the Act.

Corporate Finance Inquiries
Stephen Cotugno
Vice President, Corporate Development
steve@esportsentertainmentgroup.com
201-220-5745

All Investor Relations Inquiries
AGORACOM
ESPO@agoracom.com
https://agoracom.com/ir/eSportsEntertainmentGroup

Esports Entertainment Group $GMBL Announces Receipt Of #Curacao #eGaming License To Conduct Real Money #Esports #Betting On A Global Basis

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 4:39 PM on Monday, August 28th, 2017

Esports large

  • Received its Curaçao eGaming License
  • License allows wholly owned subsidiary to conduct real money online gambling and wagering activities on a global basis

ST. MARY’S, ANTIGUA–(Aug 28, 2017) – Esports Entertainment Group Inc. (OTCQB: GMBL) (or the “Company”), a licensed online gambling company with a specific focus on eSports wagering, is pleased to announce today the Company has received its Curaçao eGaming License (the “License”). The License allows the Esports Entertainment Group wholly owned subsidiary to conduct real money online gambling and wagering activities on a global basis. A constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao has been offering the Curaçao eGaming License since 1996, making Curaçao one of the first jurisdictions to regulate online gambling.

Grant Johnson, CEO of Esports Entertainment Group stated, “We are very pleased to have been granted this eGaming from Curaçao. Curaçao is recognized as one of the world’s leading iGaming jurisdictions and this License authorizes Esports Entertainment Group to deliver real money next generation online gambling to Esports enthusiasts worldwide. This is especially timely given both our upcoming launch and tremendous success at gamescom 2017.”

This press release is available on our Online Investor Relations Community for shareholders and potential shareholders to ask questions, receive answers and collaborate with management in a fully moderated forum at https://agoracom.com/ir/EsportsEntertainmentGroup

About Esports Entertainment Group

Esports Entertainment Group Inc. is a licensed online gambling company specifically focused on eSports wagering. Esports Entertainment intends to offer wagering on eSports events in a fully licensed, regulated and secured platform to the global eSports audience, excluding the United States. In addition, Esports Entertainment intends to offer users from around the world the ability to participate in multi-player video games tournaments online for cash prizes. Esports Entertainment is led by a team of industry and technical experts from the online gambling and video game industries, eSports, marketing, legal and financial professionals. The Company maintains offices in St. Mary’s, Antigua and Barbuda. Esports Entertainment common stock is listed on the OTCQB under the symbol GMBL. For more information please visit www.esportsentertainmentgroup.com
.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity. We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. The safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 protects companies from liability for their forward-looking statements if they comply with the requirements of the Act.

Contact:

Corporate Finance Inquiries
Stephen Cotugno
Vice President
Corporate Development
steve@esportsentertainmentgroup.com
201-220-5745

All Investor Relations Inquiries
AGORACOM
ESPO@agoracom.com
https://agoracom.com/ir/eSportsEntertainmentGroup

#ESports League Will Pay Players A Minimum Of $50,000/Year + Benefits; # Patriots/ #Mets Acquire Franchises For $20 Million $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:08 AM on Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Players will also get health insurance, retirement benefits

League is built around company’s Overwatch shooting game

The league is one of several professional video-gaming organizations built to resemble traditional sports groups like the National Football League or National Basketball Association. Overwatch League will have franchises based in specific cities, with media rights, revenue sharing and free-agency periods. Unlike the established sports leagues, however, there is no players union to collectively bargain for benefits, leaving those decisions largely up to the publisher.

Video-game players competing in Activision Blizzard Inc.’s new esports league will receive minimum salaries of $50,000 a year, health insurance and retirement benefits.

Players in the Overwatch League, set to launch later this year, will also get at least 50 percent of all performance bonuses earned by their team, the Santa Monica, California-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Total bonuses distributed in the first season will be $3.5 million, according to Activision, with at least $1 million going to the season champion.

In esports, professional video-game players compete live and online before crowds of spectators. Game publishers see the competition as a way to showcase titles and connect with fans. The new league is built around Activision’s Overwatch game, a cartoonish version of a shooting game featuring six-player teams competing in a future version of Earth.

The league is one of several professional video-gaming organizations built to resemble traditional sports groups like the National Football League or National Basketball Association. Overwatch League will have franchises based in specific cities, with media rights, revenue sharing and free-agency periods. Unlike the established sports leagues, however, there is no players union to collectively bargain for benefits, leaving those decisions largely up to the publisher.

Mad Scramble

Activision’s announcement Wednesday sets the stage for a mad scramble for talent. All 30 million Overwatch players are considered free agents, meaning they can sign with any team, regardless of previous affiliations. The official signing window will run from Aug. 1 to Oct. 30. All players will sign a one-year guaranteed contract with an option for a second year. Teams will also provide housing and practice facilities. The $50,000 salary floor compares with a $53,000 minimum in Major League Soccer.

Activision shares rose 2.8 percent to close at $62.64 in New York Wednesday. They’ve gained 73 percent this year.

Earlier this month, Activision announced the first seven ownership groups in the league, a list that includes New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Jeff Wilpon, whose family owns the New York Mets. The groups each agreed to pay a $20 million franchise fee, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick has identified esports as one of the growth areas for the company, the largest independent video game publisher. In March, Overwatch was named Game of the Year at the Game Developers Choice Awards.

The main rival to Overwatch League is Riot Games’ reformed League of Legends Championship Series, or LCS. The 2018 North American LCS announced that league revenue would be split among players (35 percent), teams (32.5 percent) and the publisher (32.5 percent). Los Angeles-based Riot Games is part of China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.

There is no set launch date for Overwatch League. Activision said it may add more teams before the league starts later this year.

VIA BLOOMBERG

Nielsen count: Measuring value of #Esports tournaments $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:04 AM on Thursday, August 17th, 2017
  • Nielsen has launched a competitive gaming branch that will measure the value of esports tournaments, events and streams
  • Also release global fan insights throughout the year, with a new research offering spanning the United State, England, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, and China in 2017

Nielsen developed Esport24, a syndicated sponsorship tracking service for esports tournaments. The service measures brand exposure in esports tournaments representing a variety of titles, event formats and geographic locations based on the same methodology that allows traditional sports rights holders and brands to quantify value and benchmark performance.

Nielsen has created an esports advisory board of industry stakeholders who will provide insight to help shape the future of esports audience measurement and valuation. ESL, ESPN, Facebook, FIFA, Major League Gaming/Activision Blizzard, NBA 2K League, The Next Level, Sony PlayStation, Turner, Twitch, Twitter, Unilever, and Google YouTube are all part of the board.

“The global, digital and young nature of esports fan base audience represents advertising’s most highly sought after segment, yet consistent and high quality data has been a challenge to measure and define,” said Craig Levine, CEO of North America, ESL. “As ESL has been pioneering esports for the past 15 years, we have witnessed the incredible growth and enthusiasm of our audience.

“We’re excited to partner with Nielsen and other industry leaders to guide the framework to measure esports sponsorships, shape the industry, and help further accelerate the esports industry overall.”

Nielsen is one of top market research firms that measure the TV and media business.

Stephen Master and Nicole Pike will-lead the global Nielsen Esports business.

Source: http://nationalpost.com/pmn/entertainment-pmn/nielsen-count-measuring-value-of-esports-tournaments/wcm/7ab5e381-753b-447e-946f-c12fbb83b3b6

College #Esports Teams Aim To Get Varsity Sport Status $GMBL.us

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
  • New leagues. Tespa’s events now include competitions in Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Rocket League.
  • Open membership. Previously, students had to compete in a Tespa league or go to a university with a Tespa chapter. This year, students at any North American university may compete, a move Tespa hopes will spur chapter creation.
  • Six broadcasts a week, and on- and off-seasons for each game (Overwatch in the fall, for example, and Hearthstone or Heroes in the spring.)

I write about PC gaming, virtual reality games and Blizzard eSports.Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Heroes of the Dorm Blizzard Entertainment

Fans cheer on University of California, Irvine, at the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm competition.

Two announcements today will help esports take one more step toward traditional competitive sports status at universities around the country.

Tespa, organizers of the “Heroes of the Dorm” competitions broadcast on ESPN networks, announced a slew of new changes for its events designed to direct more scholarship money towards student gamers and encourage participation from more university campuses. Among the announcements:

  • New leagues. Tespa’s events now include competitions in Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Rocket League.
  • Open membership. Previously, students had to compete in a Tespa league or go to a university with a Tespa chapter. This year, students at any North American university may compete, a move Tespa hopes will spur chapter creation.
  • Six broadcasts a week, and on- and off-seasons for each game (Overwatch in the fall, for example, and Hearthstone or Heroes in the spring.)
  • More money. Tespa tournaments will hand out more than $800,000 in scholarships and $200,000 in other prizes. Heroes of the Dorm winners already received full scholarships for the remainder of their college careers.
  • In-game rewards. Tespa competitors in Blizzard Entertainment titles–all the games on the list but Rocket League–will earn in-game goodies such as Hearthstone card packs or Heroes of the Storm loot chests by progressing in standing with Tespa.

In a simultaneous statement, Georgia State University announced that it will join two collegiate gaming leagues, the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE, which has 33 programs) and the new Georgia Esports League (GEL), which launches next month. GSU will become the latest university to award scholarships, practice facilities and other varsity-team perks to its gamers, joining such campuses as University of California, Irvine; Western Kentucky University and the University of Utah.

 

Blizzard Entertainment

Adam Rosen

“One of the things we’re focused on is to help grow collegiate teams in the esports space,” said Adam Rosen. He and twin brother Tyler founded Tespa when they were students at  the University of Texas at Austin. “We want competing for universities to be an aspirational thing. A lot of times universities are a little bit scared of it. It’s a risky endeavor. We’re attempting to provide assurances that our leagues will be around for multiple years, and formats will be consistent. We strongly feel it’s going to be the best year ever for esports.”

Tespa’s first year in 2010 consisted of an informal group of approximately 30 gamers from UT who showed up to compete in StarCraft II. Today it encompasses more than 65,000 members, with 220 chapters at more than 1200 universities.

“If we were to look at Tespa’s size now and compare it to a Greek organization, we’d be in the top 10 in the world for number of chapters,” Tyler Rosen said. “When Adam and I founded Tespa, we had this dream of elevating gaming to the same levels as traditional sports on campus. Last year, we had more tournaments than ever before.”

Georgia State University statements say the university sees esports as a way for its students to not only compete, but build skills and provide opportunities to learn concepts in broadcasting, production, coaching, student management, game development and marketing.

Blizzard Entertainment

The University of Texas at Arlington won Heroes of the Dorm 2017.

“The skills developed by eSports-interested students are the very skills most needed for success in the 21st century economy, including collaborative soft skills and computer coding,” said David Cheshier, director of the Georgia State Creative Media Industries Institute, in a written statement. “We see this initiative as building essential links to emerging creative careers in animation, 3D and immersive world creation, and other media industries.”

More than 90 million viewers watched esports finals in 2016, the university said.

“Esports are both the most rapidly growing field of sports and also one of the best ways to get students interested in technology,” said Andrew Greenberg, president of the Georgia Game Developers Association. GGDA sponsors the new Georgia league.

“Georgia State has become one of the first schools to recognize the link between eSports and academic achievement. We are delighted both with its role as one of the Georgia Esports League’s inaugural members and the opportunities it is providing its students.”

 Blizzard

Tyler Rosen

Tyler Rosen said when the company first got started–even when its Heroes of the Dorm tournament was first broadcast on ESPN–colleges were hesitant.

“At first, a lot of the universities ignored their teams,” he said. “But what we saw hosting that tournament year over year was that universities were supporting their teams: celebrating on social media, giving them facilities they needed. Arizona State University [winners the 2016 Heroes of the Dorm competition] brought them back to campus, paraded them at a baseball game, and gave them full housing scholarships. That’s a really great trend that we’ve seen growing.”

Registration for upcoming Tespa tournaments begins today.

 

I’ve covered gaming for more than two decades, and I cover PC games, VR games and Blizzard eSports for Forbes. Sign up for email alerts when my stories run. Follow me @gbitses.

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hnewman/2017/08/16/college-esports-teams-aim-to-get-gaming-varsity-sport-status/#3a5ce9c51191