• eSports conferences become mainstream
On April 7, 2018, crowds gathered at Columbia College, in Columbia, MO, for the Midwest Campus Clash. It may sound like any other collegiate sporting event, however, during the first annual event in 2017, more than 1,300 gaming fans passed through the doors to enjoy this gaming tournament and expo. The tournament was invitational with seven teams going head-to-head. Each match is won by the best of three games. Two rounds of semi-finals were held during the Saturday live event with the Championship that same evening.
We spoke to Bryan Curtis, Assistant Director of Athletics, Columbia College, about the popularity of eSports. “It has a lot to do with the younger generation, video games have been a part of their entire lives,” Curtis said. “In the collegiate realm we try to meet the students where they are. It was an opportunity to reach a new group of students and add to the diversity of our campus. They get to participate in something they are passionate about and I believe it will continue to boom. There are great team model games and we are now seeing professional leagues and money being invested into collegiate leagues. It will continue to grow,” Curtis shared.
While the teams practice five days a week and scrimmage against other collegiate and semi-professional teams to work on communication and techniques leading up to the big event, another large team effort is taking place amongst multiple campus departments. From Technology Services to Marketing and PR to Facilities, all areas of media, venue set up, and technology are taken care of. Curtis went on to explain,“We have tremendous support from the [college] President - it was his idea to create Midwest Campus Clash.”
When it came to location, it was important to make sure the event was directly on campus. “Our gymnasium is transformed from a basketball and volleyball court into an exciting convention space,” Curtis said. “We brought in lighting and built a stage to give the professional feel to the players. We had projection and other technology already in the space, but had to amp up our internet connection.”
Along with space and Internet, sponsorship is an important part of any event. “I think the biggest appeal is [being] on the forefront of such a new and innovative sport,” Curtis said. There is a tremendous appeal to be involved in something with such quick growth and audience excitement. Technology companies see many clients who are passionate about gaming and gaming hardware. When these companies sponsor eSports events they put themselves in line to connect directly with consumers.
You may wonder if non-gamers will be able to follow the game play? Rest assured, they will. In the world of eSports, commentators, also known as Shout Casters, add excitement to the event. Their knowledge and passion keep the audience familiarized and engaged ensuring event newbies can have a great experience watching the tournament.
eSports continues to grow world wide, read more about it in eSports: A New Generation of Events at