Good news! All those times you skipped class to play Overwatch now counts as practice.
Tespa, a collegiate competitive-gaming association, revealed its plans to host tournaments for three Blizzard games this fall and spring. Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm will each get two separate seasons with two distinct rulesets. Tespa’s Overwatch and Hearthstone events will $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, in scholarship prizing up for grabs.
Esports is a growing market. Sponsorships, advertising, and ticket sales are on pace to generate $493 million in revenues in 2016, according to research firm Newzoo. That does not include revenue from daily fantasy sports or other gambling sites related to esports, which could almost double the worth of this entertainment industry. Tespa is looking to build up its momentum in this space with events for games like Overwatch and Hearthstone.
For the fall season, the event organizer is tasking participating schools to assemble their strongest team to send to a central competition. These squads will represent their universities as part of the Overwatch: Tespa Collegiate Series, the Hearthstone Training Grounds, and Heroes of the Storm Training Grounds. In the spring, Tespa will open up its season to all competitors, which means schools can have multiple teams.
For Overwatch, the league will take seven weeks to find a top four that will compete in the finals in January. The Hearthstone events will also narrow down the playfield to a final four that will end up on stage at the Penny Arcade Expo South in Texas. That also happens in January. Heroes of the Storm, meanwhile, will dish out gear and Battle.net rewards to schools that compete for at least four of the six weeks.