Daemen College has announced the formation of an eSports team as part of the institution’s Game Club, making Daemen the first private institution in the Buffalo Niagara region to join the emerging world of competitive collegiate gaming.
“As one of the fastest-growing activities on college campuses across the country, eSports is at the forefront of collegiate programming and we are excited to be a part of this national trend,” said Daemen President Gary Olson. “Our newly created eSports team directly connects to the interest of our students and will offer them the opportunity to engage in a unique competitive recreational program.”
eSports (electronic sports) is competitive online gaming, with professional tournaments drawing capacity crowds to major venues an d millions of online viewers. Collegiate eSports teams play against other colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and participate in organized gaming competitions.
Starting this spring, the inaugural Daemen eSports team will launch as a component of the college’s existing Game Club. Student participants will prepare this semester for the East Coast Conference’s (ECC) fall eSports season, with a post-season tournament to crown a league champion in League of Legends.
“Adding eSports to our selection of clubs is a great way to foster a sense of community and for students to connect with others on campus who have a similar interest in competitive gaming,” said Dr. Greg Nayor, vice president for student affairs. “We are excited about the possibilities of developing this club into a highly talented team at the collegiate level.”
In partnership with the Division of Information Technology, Daemen has opened an eSports Lab in the Wick Campus Center’s Oddy Lounge, which has been outfitted with repurposed computers and other equipment from the college’s current technology supplies. Special gaming chairs and other peripherals have been funded by student activities fees to aid in the growth of the team.
Nationally, eSports is one of the fastest growing programs on college campuses and one of the most popular among college-aged students. According to industry analyst Newzoo, the number of eSports enthusiasts is expected to grow by another 50 percent by 2020, totaling 286 million participants.