The University of Washington To Host an Esports Night

Alaska Airlines Arena will have a doubleheader this Friday.  First, the University of Washington volleyball team will play against the University of Southern California.  Then the stage will transform.  Washington eSports of UW will take on  Washington State Esports of Washington State University in Rocket League.  This is the first event of its kind to be put on at the UW.  The Washington Gaming Association, the club that oversees esports at UW, is looking to score more than just goals at it. 

We got a chance to sit down with Kevin Zhou the President of WGA. Kevin talked with us about what goes into setting up an event like this.  He explained to me how the different competitive gaming titles at UW had once all been separate groups.  That changed in 2015 when the WGA was formed.  The WGA acts as an umbrella organization to support these groups.  Kevin is part of the 2nd generation of the formal WGA.  This organization now has teams in Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, league of legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA, and Rocket League.   

Friday’s match-up is important for the WGA because for the first time they are working with the university athletics department.  The athletics department are helping them host it in the large Alaska Airlines Arena.  Kevin also talked about some of the difficulties in getting set-up.  For example, the athletics department didn’t have any gaming computers for them to use.  Fortunately, they are also working with Northwest Esports to ensure they have the proper equipment. 

Kevin stressed the importance of this event and the impact it can have on the future of UW.  He said, “This event isn’t just about Rocket League, it’s about esports on campus.”.  Events of this kind are rare on college campuses, but the WGA is hoping that success this Friday could make it more mainstream.

With games such as Overwatch transitioning into a formal league, the time seems right for collegiate esports.  College sports are already watched as often and with fan bases as large as professional teams.  Esports at this level seems like a natural addition.  Only time will tell if this will happen, but events like this one will be the first step in that direction.    

UW will take on USC in volleyball Friday at 6 P.M. in Alaska Airlines Area.  The Rocket League match will start after at about 8 P.M. The event will not be streamed online, however, Tickets are available at GoHuskies.com/Tickets  and tickets for the volleyball game will be good for the Rocket league match.  The event is free to UW students.