National Student Esports (NSE) is the new official body which aims to support the development of the university esports landscape.
It was revealed yesterday at an invitational event for student societies from across the UK at the recently opened Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London. NSE was created by Benchmark, a global group of organisations that specialise in the development of sport and entertainment related networks, and is supported by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the national governing body for university sport in the UK.
By working with student organisations and game publishers, and with BUCS to leverage their knowledge, relationships and infrastructure across the higher education sector, NSE aims to ‘raise the profile of university esports and create the best university esports experience worldwide’. Their goal will be to build the community and to enrich and support the student experience at universities.
By partnering with BUCS, NSE will also look to bring the higher education sector and the esports industry together to recognise the exceptional talent of student leaders in the esports and gaming space.
During the announcement, the team revealed their plans which will kick off at the start of the 2018/19 academic year. The official university esports championships will begin in October 2018 and will be among the first university competitions backed by a governing body. Alongside the championships, NSE will provide a programme of support for university societies and a first-of-it’s-kind digital community platform.
There were showmatches that took place between various university teams at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere yesterday evening:
“The passion and commitment of the university esports community is outstanding and we believe it deserves further recognition and support,” said Vince Mayne, Chief Executive Officer of British Universities & Colleges Sport.
“Our experience stems from university sport and we are aware that esports does not need to be defined in this way. This is why we’ve partnered with experts in their field and why NSE will exist as a separate entity. It’s important that the community is listened to and that we provide a platform to unite and support students around the UK like never before.”
Jonathan Tilbury, Executive Director of National Student Esports, added: “Esports is already one of the largest competitive activities on campus but largely goes under the radar. Most major universities have an active society and participation in university competitions eclipses all other national esports competitions.
“Over the next few months we’ll be working with societies to make sure NSE is shaped according to their needs. Through the support from BUCS and Benchmark, we’ll be able to ensure these needs are met.”
NSE will be incubated inside Benchmark, where it will benefit from the group’s network of connections.
The news comes after the University of York Department of Theatre, Film and Television announced it will launch an industry-backed module on esports content production in collaboration with ESL.