FREDERICK, Md. - Hood College will offer esports as a club sport, Director of Athletics Dr. Susan Kolb announced.
It will join equestrian among the Blazers' club offerings, while Hood also sponsors 22 NCAA Division III programs. The program will be the eighth among members of the Middle Atlantic Conference.
Blazer esports plan to compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the country's most prominent organization dedicated to competitive collegiate video gaming. For more information about NACE, click here.
A search for a head coach is in progress. Once named, the coach will announce what games in which the program will compete. NACE lists Smite, Paladins, Overwatch and Hearthstone on its website.
Esports, also known as electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games. They are commonly multiplayer games involving strategy and skill. The popularity of Esports is a phenomenon in the technology industry and sporting platforms such as ESPN are devoting time on their media outlets, including live television.
Since its establishment in the early 2000s, esports has seen rapid growth in participation and viewership. According to ESPN The Magazine's June 22, 2015 esports issue, the 2014 League of Legends championship drew an online viewership of 27 million people, which is more than the NBA Finals (15.5 million), the World Series (13.8 million) and the Stanley Cup Finals (5 million). DOTA 2—another popular esport—drew 20 million viewers that same year, according to the article. Most recently, Bryan Armen Graham wrote a piece for The Guardian highlighting the discussion between the Paris bid committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add esports as a medal event at the 2024 Olympic Games.