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College opens up rapidly growing Esports opportunity

Posted: 29 February 2024

Thanks to an initiative spearheaded by West Nottinghamshire College and Mansfield District Council, the chance for young people to get involved in the most rapidly emerging technology is coming this spring.

REPLAY is West Nottinghamshire College’s Esports league, established in 2022. Those students who study the Level 2 Intermediate Esports and the Level 3 Advanced Esports courses get to take part in this league, competing at national level, on popular games such as Rocket League, Overwatch, Valorant and League of Legends.

The college’s tournament teams have seen great success having reached the semi-finals in the first tournament last year and this year our female team has reached the finals in London. West Nottinghamshire College is officially affiliated with the British Esports Federation and the College of Esports, London.

Within the Esports market, UK revenue is projected to reach approximately £77.4m by 2027. Now, there’s the chance for schoolchildren and youth club members to become part of this emerging sporting technology by signing up to become part of a new Esports league, helping to put Esports on the map in Mansfield and Ashfield.

Individuals can sign up to register their interest, by Monday 8 April 2024, to become part of four teams which will make up the new league by emailing wayneleslie.johnson@wnc.ac.uk.

Interested parties must have experience in gaming, in particular, Rocket League, which will be the focus for the team games. Team members must be able to attend the college’s Derby Road campus on a two to three-week basis, which will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Participants must be aged between 13-17-years-old.

It is expected that four teams of five players will be formulated, seeing matches take place at the college’s Derby Road-based Esports studio which features a green screen studio for live broadcasts, training suites and gaming stations, a video wall and a creative content studio.

Unlike physical sports, where men’s and women’s teams are split, Esports is technically mixed with male and female players taking part. The number of female players has risen and continues to rise alongside initiatives such as ‘Women in Esports’, with approximately one in 20 players across the UK being female.

Esports and digital teacher Scott Smith said: “This is a rapidly developing and popular area of sport as well as study, which has a wealth of careers attached to it.  We’re thrilled to be opening up this exciting opportunity for younger members of our community, and to be able to introduce them to competing at league level as well as showing off the college facilities where we run the Level 2 and Level 3 Esports courses from.

“We’ll be able to highlight the many careers which can be available to students who successfully complete these programmes of study, including becoming a host or shoutcaster, player manager, video editor or streamer or even going into the more business-focused or technical roles within digital technology such as software developer, network engineer or cyber security manager.”

Those who get chosen for the league will have full access to the games and equipment at the college, while experienced staff will organise all matches and the league. Each game will be streamed through the state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities.

Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, Councillor Stuart Richardson, said: “Esports is a rapidly expanding industry that we should all be focusing on for future growth and opportunities in Mansfield. It is fantastic that the college has taken the initiative to set up the fantastic games centre off Derby Road, in preparation for future students to not only have fun and game, but complete courses at too.

“I cannot wait for the league to be set up, because I am sure that once the word gets out of this opportunity is here in Mansfield, we will see more and more leagues being set up. The digital economy and growth that it will bring, along with younger people staying in Mansfield to learn, is a fantastic thing which can only be built on.”

The current games can be viewed on the Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/wncesports

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