Black-owned nonprofit Cxmmunity Media recently announced that they’ve launched the third season of their HBCU Esports League.
Announced last Wednesday, the new season is set to begin on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. EST on the organization’s Twitch channel. For a total of 22 weeks, students from 16 Historically Black Colleges and Universities will compete for a title through multiple rounds of NBA 2K games.
The two teams that’ll eventually finish at the top of the league will go on to compete in a competition created by Cxmmunity’s partner Discover. As part of the “Discover Bowl” finals, the two teams will have the chance to win a cash prize of $20,000.
As of now, the HBCUs that are participating in the league include Albany State University, North Carolina Central University, Howard University, Florida Memorial University, Morris Brown College and Tenessee State University. Benedict College, Fayetteville State University and Wilberforce University are also slated to have students compete.
“The illustrious Historically Black College and University community is primed with smart and talented students who we’ve had the pleasure of engaging and further cultivating their passions for three seasons,” says the co-founder of Cxmmunity, Chris Peay, in a statement. “It’s great to see the growth in participants and how more corporate partners are getting on board to support our ambition of bringing much needed equity to the gaming industry.”
Since its inception, the HBCU Esports League has enjoyed great success as Black students are getting more involved in Esports. The launch of the third season comes shortly after Benedict College became the first HBCU to offer students an undergraduate degree in esports, open up an esports gaming room and officially host an Esports competition.
Spearheaded by Dr. Paula Shelby, the chair of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, classes for the esports degree not only include testing out playing the games but also marketing esports tournaments, coming up with brackets for teams and checking players into competitions.
According to Dr. Shelby, the idea for the degree was inspired by the lack of dedication going towards helping Black students create a career out of their interests as most colleges that offer Esports degrees are predominantly white.
In general, the presence of Black developers in the gaming industry continues to remain despite the high interest in gaming amongst the Black community. According to a report by the International Game Developers Association, 85% of Black teenagers are avid gamers with the rate being significantly higher than the 70% rate of white teenagers who are dedicated to gaming.
Despite this, Black students aren’t pursuing a career in video game development.
As of 2021, only 4% of all video game developers are Black, according to a report by the International Game Developers.
With their Esports League and other tech programs, Cxmmunity Media hopes to drive BIPOC students to tech fields.
“Major steps for diversity in this space begin with exposing students to new information and creating more opportunities for careers and competition for people of color,” Johnson said in April per Black Enterprise. “Through this process, minority students and minority instructors will have more opportunities to insert themselves as viable candidates as new careers and jobs become available.”