Hartwick College Creates eSports Intramural Program
Hartwick College today has announced the formation of a new intramural program, eSports@WICK. Starting in spring 2018, Hartwick will be part of the first wave of institutions nationally to move into competitive collegiate eSports.
eSports (electronic sports) is a form of competition that is extremely popular with college-aged participants. An estimated 22% of American male millennials watch eSports, virtually equal with baseball and hockey in terms of viewership among that demographic, according to industry analyst NewZoo.
NewZoo also projects the number of eSports enthusiasts is expected to grow by another 50% by 2020, totaling 286 million.
“Making eSports an intramural program that is supported by the College connects with the interests of our students,” said Vice President for College Advancement Gregg Fort.
In addition, a steering committee has been formed to determine the feasibility of adding eSports as a varsity sport, Fort said. The steering committee will ultimately present its findings and recommendations to Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich and the college’s senior leadership team.
“According to a 2017 Nielsen Esports Fan Insights report, 50 percent of college-aged eSports fans in the US believe eSports should be a collegiate sport,” Fort also said.
Many institutions that sponsor eSports also provide scholarship support.
While an industry still in its infancy, there are already four associations for collegiate eSports, including the National Collegiate eSports Association (NCeSPA), National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), Collegiate Starleague (CSL), and Tespa. The associations hold tournaments nationwide for such games as “League of Legends” – the most popular collegiate eSport, according to eGaming industry analyst AListDaily – “Overwatch,” and “CounterStrike: Global Offensive,” among others.
Executive Director of Information Technology Services Bruce Campbell will serve as the eSports@WICK intramural program’s advisor.
“Most of our students are already exposed to electronic gaming from the time they are very young,” Campbell said. “The creation of a formal eSports intramural sport is a great way to not only bring together those students who are already competitive gamers, but introduce others who have seen but not experienced eSports.”
eSports@WICK can also be a potential boost to the College’s entire intramural program, through hosting on-campus tournaments and other events, he added.
Students can join the new intramural program in the spring semester 2018.