NDSU & UND pave the way for Esports in ND
E sports has becoming a multi million dollar industry. Games like Rocket League and Fortnite give careers and scholarships for athletes in the college ranks.
NORTH DAKOTA (KVRR)- E sports has becoming a multi million dollar industry.
Games like Rocket League and Fortnite give careers and scholarships for athletes in the college ranks.
“I was a little biased at first, Like, this is just a video game. Why would anyone take it that seriously? Then getting more into the community realizing the growth and potential there is there it’s really just insane to see,” said Alex Kotula, Vice President, NDSU Rocket League.
North Dakota State has a competitive club team that is growing rapidly, doubling in size. Their rocket league team has been competitive against schools in the Midwest.
North Dakota’s varsity team placed third in a regional tournament last season. There are 50 athletes participating on the Fighting Hawks’ E sports varsity program.
They play two eight week seasons in the fall and spring plus a postseason and have weekly practices like traditional sports teams.
“Practices for the most part take on many different parts. So, our players either play flex queue. So, it’s five of them against a random five. They would just hop in the game and queue for,” said Travis Isbell, UND, Esports Director.
With competition bonds are also being formed.
“I was able to join the league, become one of the executives here. And, honestly, it’s why I’m here to this day because that sense of community I got from day one. It’s addicting almost,” said Carter Buchta, Treasurer, NDSU Rocket League.
“This club has become somewhat of a family to me. I don’t really have a lot of people that share the passion for this game as I,” said Jordan Evanoff, Junior, NDSU Rocket League.
“This is all about the students this is all about giving them additional opportunities and growing their potential,” said Isbell.
With COVID restrictions loosening athletes look forward to competing more in-person and even hosting events.
Both universities are working to revamp their Esports facilities, UND approved a $500,000 expansion.
“They’re going to be quadrupling in size and square footage, so they’re going to be doubling the PCs here. They’re going to be adding a console gaming section, lounge section and they’re going to have a designated broadcasting room,” said Kotula.