Online video gaming earns its spot as a major college sport

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Harrisburg University of Pennsylvania is currently aiming to be the best institution for video gamers in America as it eyes to dig into the growing college e-sports industry. The University has paid full attention in building up its single competitive sports team, the HU Storm, composed of the best gamers in the country in the hopes of making the University a powerhouse and household name for students hoping to make a career in e-sports.The team has lived up to all the hype and has recently won the first ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship, founded by the cable network in response to the growth of e-sports across college campuses this year.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) came into play in July 2016 with just seven colleges and universities offering e-sports programmes for their students. The popularity has rapidly grown since then, and now more than 170 institutions are offering varsity programmes for students interested in e-sports.

Traditional college sports are a big deal in the United States where different colleges give their best to maintain their dominance in the various contact based sports involved, but Harrisburg saw potential in e-sports and an opportunity to make its name in the growing e-sports college scene. Harrisburg has already started investing in e-sports since 2017 with an annual budget of around $2,000,000 which went into building up a state of the art e-sports training facility which boasts “world-class coaches” and an “arena that will blow your mind”.

Currently, Harrisburg isn’t alone in its pursuit of excellence in college e-sports, many other Universities in the United States have also started investing in college e-sports in an effort to attract students.

Victoria Horsley from NACE, said smaller universities are eager to add the e-sports programmes because it helps a lot with student recruitment. “They see e-sports is popular so they want to jump in and try to grab all the students in their market as soon as they can,” she told the Washington Post.

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