MANSFIELD, Mass.- The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) will begin sponsoring esports, beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year, the league announced today. ESports will be the conference’s sixteenth sport, and will feature a regular season schedule, as well as a championship in each of the different games the league will offer.
With this announcement, the NECC will become the first NCAA Division III conference in New England, and third nationally, that will offer esports. ESports is currently one of the fastest growing markets globally, with many institutions taking advantage of the boom and adding esports programs in recent years. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) began in 2016 with six members, and has since grown to 128 members. Several current NECC institutions sponsor esports at either the varsity or club level, including Becker College, Dean College, Elms College and New England College.
“We are extremely excited to announce the addition of esports,” said NECC Commissioner Jacob VanRyn. “Esports is one of the fastest-growing competitive efforts on college campuses, and it is a tremendous opportunity for us to expand the impact of the New England Collegiate Conference beyond traditional sports on campus. We are proud to announce the addition of esports as an NECC-sponsored sport. We take great pride in all of our sport and championship offerings and we will continue to do everything we can to help create memorable and meaningful experiences for all of our student-athletes.”
New England College’s ESports Program Director, Tyrelle Appleton, is looking forward to seeing the industry continue to grow and develop. “Having the NECC be a part of the esports collegiate scene is going to help develop competition in New England and beyond.” said Appleton. “We look forward to being a part of the conference. Our ‘Grims are ready!”
In conjunction with the announcement of ESports sponsorship, the NECC is excited to announce it will hold an ESports Showcase, in partnership with the Massachusetts Digital Game Institute (MassDiGi), on January 31. Genji Esports will also serve as a presenting sponsor.
The Showcase will feature panel discussions by industry leaders, as well as a question and answer session for those interested in learning more about this emerging landscape. The day will also feature a gaming showcase in which NECC members will compete to determine a conference champion.
The event is free, and all are encouraged to attend to discover more about this new and developing NECC conference sport.
The NECC ESports Showcase will take place at Becker College. Becker boasts the first varsity esports program in New England, and was the first in the nation to offer a degree in ESports Management.
"Becker is honored to host this exciting event along with the NECC," said Timothy Loew, general manager of the Varsity Esports Program at Becker. "Interest in collegiate esports is growing every day and we're happy to share our experiences in this fast-moving space with others."
ESports student-athletes will be on hand to compete in Super Smash Bros., League of Legends and Overwatch. The NECC will then crown conference champions, followed by a reception to end the evening.
If you are interested in attending the NECC ESports Showcase, you can register here.
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.
MassDigi is a statewide center for academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem. Established in 2011, MassDiGI is the result of creative collaboration among academia, state government and industry, aimed at fostering the growth of the innovation economy in Massachusetts.
ABOUT GENJI ESPORTS
Team Genji is a premier competitive esports organization which began competing in 2016. Today, Team Genji fields world-class rosters across many of today’s most popular esports.