The first sign of sports returning to DU comes from an unusual (but not unexpected) place – eSports.
The club participants will be playing League of Legends tournament in mid-June. League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. Inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod Defense of the Ancients. eSports connect students and bridge social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DU ESports is hosting another inhouse League of Legends tournament for the summer. Games are expected to start June 13th. If you're interested in playing, visit @duesportsclub and join their discord. All information can be found in the discord.
— W E S H I (@weshilol) May 30, 2020
Think eSports is not serious? According to the World Economic Forum, “A separate part of gaming is esports, which refers to organized, multiplayer video game competitions. This sector is forecast to grow to just over $1 billion in 2020. Business models in esports closely follow professional sports – though competitions are far more fragmented – with the majority of revenue coming from advertising and broadcasting. Although relatively small in comparison with the overall gaming market, esports is relevant here because it appears connected to the continued growth of gaming.”
DU’s eSports club, which started five years ago, is a coed team of 70 students and four teams that take on other universities every weekend (playing games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone or Rocket League). The June 13th tournament is an in-house event.
Everyone sheltering at home has also predictably led to an uptick in gaming and tournaments on platforms which includes popular titles such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Overwatch. And, Denver eSports team is just one of many teams that bring students together and provide a healthy release from these complicated times.
The world Economic Forum concludes, “Despite this, esports may be growing in prominence as a result of COVID-19. Sports leagues around the world have turned to the sector to find new ways of engaging with fans. Several esports competitions are being shown on live TV, as broadcasters look to fill hours of scheduled sports content that were canceled in the wake of the pandemic. NASCAR has been one of the most successful sports to augment canceled events with its iRacing Series, with one event attracting a peak of 1.3 million viewers. Although esports revenues may have declined, the value of the sector more broadly has risen as a result of the low-cost marketing it has benefited from during the crisis.”
An NCAA vote allows for voluntary athletic activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball to run through the month of June. Other sports such as soccer, volleyball and hockey are awaiting further NCAA decisions on practice schedules. All sports are subject to state local and University guidelines which would supersede any NCAA directives.
Photo courtesy University of Denver eSports