Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 25, 2019

MU Launches New eSports Team

Carlos Argueta


Manchester is welcoming its first esports team and gaming arena to campus this November due to large grassroots support for the unconventional sport. The team is going to be led by directors Melanie Lawson who is also director of Residential Life and Jim Mantis, project manager for ITS.

The new esports team will be divided up in two groups, a varsity and junior varsity roster. It will host three different video games: League of Legends, Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. The university will also become a member of Nace, a nonprofit collegiate association for competitive gaming.  Manchester is one of hundreds of colleges and universities associated with Nace, so it will compete with an array of schools across the country.

“I am excited seeing this go from the ground up.” Lawson said. “It happened very fast; people wanted us to make it happen as soon as possible, and there was a lot of support because we want to serve students.”

The gaming arena built for the program will be located in the basement of East Hall. It will have 12 state-of-the-art gaming systems with monitors, gaming keyboards, mouses, and gaming PCs. The arena is nearly finished, with the hope of starting practices next month.

The arena—and team— are designed to create a competitive space where Manchester students can play video games officially while sharpening their skills and connecting with other students. The program is hoping to start recruiting students for gaming in the years to come, in the hope of developing interest in the program, and in becoming a more competitive team. “Students want to do this,” Lawson said. “Last year we had students that were very competitive; we still do. We want to give them a place to do that.”

The esports team is hoping to expand its catalog of games after its spring season. The group wants to include other popular games like Fortnite and Overwatch to expand the team, and to bring more student attention. With an expansion of games, the team will be included in more leagues and will need more students to fill those spots.

There is no set roster for the team yet. There are still going to be tryouts for students, so they can show their skills and earn a spot on the roster. The team did have a callout meeting where dozens of students went to sign up and register for games they look to compete in and tryout. “Right now, we have 28 people who signed up during our callout meeting, but not just for the games listed but for any game they would like to compete in.” Lawson said. Tryouts are going to be on Nov. 15, and all students are welcomed to come out.