Montgomery County Community College is gearing up to launch its new all-gender athletic program – Mustangs eSports. Starting in the spring 2020 semester, student-athletes will be competing at MCCC’s Mustangs eSports pavilions at both its West Campus in Pottstown and Central Campus in Blue Bell.
Esports, or electronic sports, is a form of competitive multiplayer video gaming in which teams compete against each other in single games or tournament events.
MCCC’s Mustangs eSports involves much more than playing video games, said MCCC’s eSports Coordinator and Coach Ryan Plummer, who describes the many benefits of the program.
“A major benefit of Mustangs eSports is that it will bring together students who have a shared passion, and it will encourage them to communicate with each other as they work together developing their strategy and resolving conflicts,” Plummer said. “Through practice and competition, they will learn to work well as a team. All of these skills will help them succeed in the classroom and in their careers.”
Similar to MCCC’s other varsity sports, Mustangs eSports has eligibility requirements. Student-athletes must be enrolled in one of MCCC’s academic programs, take a minimum of 12 credits per semester, maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or higher and pass a physical.
“At MCCC, the e in Mustangs eSports stands for everyone,” said Kelly Dunbar, MCCC’s Director of Athletics and Campus Recreation. “On our campuses, we foster an all-inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong. ESports provides an opportunity for all students to participate on a varsity team.”
MCCC’s eSports will open the door for other possibilities, including the potential expansion of academic programs, particularly in the technology field, and integrated learning opportunities with community and industry partners.
MCCC started recruiting players this fall and several student-athletes already have met for practice rounds. With Coach Plummer, student-athletes warm-up with dynamic stretches before reviewing and performing different techniques to improve their skills and performance. As part of practice, student-athletes spend time exercising to increase their endurance and eye-hand coordination.
Eventually, MCCC will expand the number of games in the future and add other teams, such as a FIFA team, Plummer said.
“ESports is an engagement opportunity,” Plummer said. “When students are engaged in activities on campus, they tend to perform better in their classes and complete their goals.”
For the first season, Mustangs eSports student-athletes will be playing and competing in Rocket League tournaments. Rocket League is a game similar to soccer, only it uses cars instead of players, and the game involves two teams of four players each.
To build excitement for the upcoming season, MCCC will be hosting a Philly Esports 2v2 Rocket League Tournament open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 14, with walk-in registration starting at 9 a.m. The tournament starts at noon and will be held in College Hall Lower Level, Room 144, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
While video gaming has been around for decades, esports has been gaining popularity rapidly in recent years, including on college campuses. When the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the governing body of esports, started in 2016, there were six founding member colleges and universities. Now, only three years later, there are more than 150 members, including MCCC, and over 3,000 student-athlete members.
Worldwide more than 380 million people watched esports in 2018, and there are over 165 million esports enthusiasts, spanning North America, Europe, China and South Korea, according to Newzoo, a leading global provider of games and esports analytics.
The esports industry is flourishing in the Philadelphia region. In September 2019, Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Cos. broke ground for a $50 million, 60,000-square-foot esports Fusion Arena in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. The new arena is expected to open in 2021.
Esports is not only profitable for the industry, but also for the players. Earlier this year, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf of Pottsgrove won $3 million when he became the Fortnite world champion.
For more information about MCCC’s Mustangs eSports team, contact Ryan Plummer at email@example.com or call 215-619-7440.