SUNY Canton joining national ‘eSports’ competition association
Friday, February 2, 2018 - 9:17 am

CANTON -- SUNY Canton will become the first New York State eSports team to compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) this spring.

"Similar to traditional athletics, eSports will provide our students with new and enhanced opportunities for competitive excellence, academic achievement, and commitment to community and service," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. "Membership on a varsity collegiate sports team is an extremely rewarding experience, so being able to expand those opportunities, including to online students, combined with the type of high achievers we will attract, makes this a fantastic addition to our college."

Plans for the eSports team include specialized computer stations for practice and competition located in a newly designed gaming area in Nevaldine Hall. The college plans to develop an eSports wing in a residence hall with a gaming computer area adjacent to student's rooms. The eSports wing would be similar to the college's current pet-friendly wing where academic interests and lifestyles intersect with themed residential living.

“The timing of our eSports program corresponds perfectly with our newly announced majors in Game Design and Development, Technological Communication, Cybersecurity and Graphic and Multimedia Design," said Canino School of Engineering Technology Dean Michael J. Newtown. "Being able to offer opportunities in eSports will undoubtedly assist in recruiting efforts to attract top students to a wide variety of majors. We are also looking forward to extending these opportunities to online students, so they can become more involved in eSports and athletics."

According to Newzoo, a market research firm specializing in digital gaming, 22 percent of American male millennials watch eSports, which is essentially on par with viewership numbers for baseball and hockey. Women are also increasingly becoming interested in gaming: statistics indicate 38 percent of eSports fans are female.

President Szafran now counts three types of competitive teams at SUNY Canton: eSports, traditional varsity athletics, and A-Sports, or Academic Sports, such as the school's Steel Bridge Team, which competes in bridge building competitions regionally and nationally each year.