Blizzard have entered a partnership with US university eSports association TeSPA, with the aim of providing event funding and promotion to dedicated student groups – as well as introducing a little structure to grassroots pro gaming.
As part of the partnership deal, Blizzard have promised to back student groups in the TeSPA network with event funding, production equipment, in-game rewards and “promotion opportunities”. The idea is to allow university chapters to host events and build communities on a local level, in an eSports sphere that tends to operate nationally or internationally.
But they’ll ask for something back: to qualify, student groups will need to follow a Membership Milestone program. The program will provide a structure for college eSports groups as they begin to scale up, advising on everything from technical solutions to leadership technique.
The plan? To plant some really thick grassroots, and establish a “vibrant eSports ecosystem” supported at every level. It’s not just pro players that Blizzard and TeSPA are interested in – but budding managers and event coordinators too.
“Our goal is to empower passionate students to bring their eSports dreams to life,” said TeSPA co-founder Adam Rosen. “By doing this, we hope to cultivate thriving eSports communities while fostering the next generation of entrepreneurial business leaders in the gaming industry.”
TeSPA’s founders – Adam Rosen, Tyler Rosen, and Chris Kelly – are all members of Blizzard’s eSports team. They hope to establish campus chapters across the US – and are targeting 75 universities in particular to “seed” this year.
“TeSPA has been a positive force in the eSports community built from the ground up by a small group of dedicated fans,” said Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime. “By partnering with TeSPA we hope to give back to the players in a very new way to add fuel to an already thriving collegiate scene.”
Cool, huh? Blizz presumably have StarCraft in mind, but there are no related restrictions or conditions listed on the TeSPA site, where students have been signing up for the past few days. Recruitment is open to new and existing groups. Could you imagine benefiting from something similar round your way?