By Nethan Crew
The Montevallo Esports program has planned for open house events on every Saturday from 12 – 4 p.m. in Chichester Theatre right behind Reynolds Hall. The open house events started this semester after COVID-19 regulations became less restrictive from last semester
Esports serves as a broad term to signify any video game that is played in a competitive format, commonly with multiple players on one team versus another. The University of Montevallo Esports team plays games including “Overwatch” and “League of Legends.” “Overwatch” is a first-person shooter game created by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016. “League of Legends” is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games in 2009.
Esports is a new collegiate and professional sport and it has seen lots of success on Twitch. Overwatch League is an international esports league of 20 city-based teams featuring the best players in the world.
Both nationally and internationally, colleges, universities and even high schools have adopted esports into their athletics departments.
The esports team has set aside time for this event to allow for new people to come watch and play video games as well as giving the players the opportunity to hone their skills before they have matches.
“I think the main goal basically is to let people know that we have an esports team.” said Kristen Bayles, the captain of the Overwatch team. She elaborated on how the open house allows for people to meet that share similar interests. “We want to stray away a little bit from the competitive aspect of esports, because although we are a competitive esports team, we also want people to know that you can just play what you want at our open houses.”
The university added esports to its growing roster of intercollegiate athletics teams for the 2019-2020 academic year. Unlike most esports programs in the state, which take on a club-style approach, Montevallo’s program is a fully sanctioned, university-sponsored program. They must follow all restrictions that any student-athlete would follow, including GPA restrictions, class attendance and drug testing.
Matches for the Montevallo Esports team are streamed on Twitch every Sunday.