by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant
eSports is growing in popularity across many different games all across the world and it finally comes to Mankato. The University is excited to announce that it is launching its first Varsity eSports Team. The team’s remodeled training space in Wissink Hall. It will feature up to 20 gaming stations with specialized equipment, however, due to the current situation, the numbers have been reduced. The ribbon-cutting event will take place on October 2 from 1:30 pm to 2 pm and it will be live-streamed where the training facility will be fully unveiled. Feel free to also join the different eSport tournaments taking place from 10:30 am to 8 pm the following day.
eSports are a fast-growing competitive sport that has yet not gained the attention of many colleges and universities. There are already many worldwide tournaments for various games with prize pools that go up to millions of dollars. On-campus, many students already participate in eSports through student clubs, and now the university is prepared to offer an even better experience to many more.
The University is now a member of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of its member institutes. This is the only organization that sponsors and promotes the education and development of college students through eSports. The University is already officially listed as a member of NACE and can be found under the member’s tab on their website.
Mitchell Wallerstedt is the chief of operation for IT Solutions and now also director of the varsity esports team. He stated that the team is currently recruiting students and will hire a head coach soon. Director Wallerstedt also stated that the University is expecting to organize two to three teams depending on student interest. The Director also stated that the team will work with Campus Rec and RSOs to help recruit and develop the teams. The first season is expecting to compete in League of Legends and possibly CS:GO and EA Sports titles for the spring NACE competition. Some of the other possibilities listed on the website include Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, Tekken, and Call of Duty.
The estimated startup costs are around $60,000 with operating costs around $25,000 which is being funded by student fees along with Dell Alienware as the official program equipment sponsor. Since most of the competition takes place virtually through online streaming, there is little need for travel unless a team qualifies for a championship. Moreover, Director Wallerstedt stated that he hopes to get high school student participation as well. The director also stated that the program has the potential for revenue through additional sponsorships and streaming advertisements. This could provide students the opportunity to earn scholarship winnings in tournament play in the future.
Sports now encompass a larger range of activities, fortunately, some of this make it even easier to protect yourself and follow social distancing precautions. Make sure to check out the new space and participate if interested.