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December 5, 2019

Becker's athletics conference adds esports

Photo | Grant Welker Becker College

Becker College has gotten another assist in its mission to remain a leader in collegiate esports.

The New England Collegiate Conference, of which the Worcester school in a member, said Thursday it will become what it says is the first Division III conference in New England and only the third nationally to sponsor esports. The conference will feature a regular season schedule for esports and a championship for each of its games.

Becker and other New England Collegiate Conference schools, including Dean College in Franklin, Elms College in Chicopee and New England College in Henniker, N.H., already sponsored esports at the varsity or club level.

The eight-school conference said Thursday it will host an esports showcase at Becker's Massachusetts Digital Games Institute on Jan. 31, with panel discussions by industry leaders and an esports competition.

Esports, where players compete in video games, has quickly become a popular spectator sport and an area of study at colleges.

Becker says its esports management program is the first of its kind in the country, and claims the state's first school to offer scholarships of up to $5,000 per year to varsity esports student-athletes. In January, it formed a varsity esports team for Overwatch, an online first-person shooter video game.

In March, Becker's video game design program was rated third best nationally, up one spot from last year, in a ranking by The Princeton Review.

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