By Ty Ferguson
NAIT Athletics and NAITSA are bringing eSports to campus as the industry continues to grow. More than 200 million people tuned into the League of Legends World Championship in 2018. Along with that, the industry was reported to bring in over 900 million dollars in revenue in 2018.
NAIT’s eSports tournament will take place on March 23rd and have participants compete in either League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. While there have been several eSports clubs around NAIT, the support of NAIT Athletics and NAITSA open up the possibility of a larger-scale eSports league in the province.
“[We] are hoping beyond NAIT students, there will be other post-secondary students involved – potentially submitting a team on behalf of their institution,” said Curtis Dell, the Student Recreation Coordinator at NAIT.
In Ontario, schools like St. Clair College offer eSports programs at the school. Other colleges in the province have also created eSports teams, allowing different schools to compete against each other.
Dell explained the event is heavily organized and supported by NAIT’s own eSports clubs; Zenith eSports and the CS:GO club. While still in the early stages, Dell said that they hope to find a space on campus that can host some of these events in a dedicated area.
The eSports announcement was first made at the 2019 ACAC Men’s Volleyball Championship at NAIT.
“NAIT Athletics has been one of the groups that have been interested in trying to support the longterm vision of an [eSports] varsity team or sports club – hopefully, representative of the Ook,” said Dell.
Similar to other NAIT Athletics sports, there will be an online live stream of the games. There are no initial plans however for play-by-play staff to commentate the games for the tournament.
Steam and Riot Games gift cards are currently being offered to first-place teams. Prizes for runner-up teams and general participation is are under consideration.
“We’re gonna look into the fall to deliver more tournaments and evolve our eSports footprint here at NAIT,” said Dell.
Photo courtesy of Tech in Asia