Esports will be even more a part of the fabric of collegiate sports through the National Junior College Athletic Association, which has announced the creation of NJCAA Esports to provide two-year colleges with official national championships in the sport.
The new framework will also provide guidance for colleges to build and operate esports programs, as well as govern and organize the competitions for NJCAA participating schools. NJCAA Esports will partner with two other organizations, Legacy Esports of Chicago and EsportsU of New York.
Legacy Esports will deliver competition software and competition administration to participating NJCAA members. EsportsU will represent the NJCAA in negotiating commercial rights across media, sponsorship, sales, ticketing, e-commerce and advertising.
“The growth trend of the esports industry has given NJCAA member colleges a remarkable opportunity to create and manage programs, increase enrollment and retention and make a greater positive impact in their communities,” said Christopher Parker, president and CEO of the NJCAA.
NJCAA Esports will develop rules and eligibility for student participation, in addition to competition schedules that would include online and national championship events.
“Legacy is excited to partner with the NJCAA and EsportsU to deliver competitive, structured and meaningful competitions to two-year colleges across the country,” said Andrew Barnett, CEO of Legacy Esports. “Legacy will power league structure and operational services for all regular season and championship events on our state-of-the-art competition platform.”
To participate in NJCAA Esports, member colleges must be fully accredited by an authorized higher education accrediting agency and serve as a two-year institution. NJCAA Esports will also provide insight and guidance to two-year colleges interested in sponsoring esports programs and joining the association. Competitions will begin in fall 2019.
EsportsU is a division of Collegiate Sports Management Group, which markets and sells media/sponsorships and advertising around esports, facilities, games, events, tournaments and other related content.
“This ground-breaking partnership will allow brands to engage with college esports athletes, nationally and regionally, for online, LAN and national championship events,” said Neil Malvone, executive vice president of business affairs and strategic partnerships at Collegiate Sports Management Group. “Tremendous sponsorship, digital marketing and media opportunities will be available for brands in collegiate esports.”