Tespa is world renowned when it comes to advancing collegiate gaming and pioneering the way students connect with like-minded gamers. The 2017-2018 school year is upon us and Tespa is once again innovating new and exciting things for students to partake in as they open their doors to six esport titles that will feature over $1 million in scholarships across North America. Co-founders Adam and Tyler Rosen began this venture back in 2010 and have since grown Tespa into a program that features over 220 college chapters with 65,000 participating students.
“We’re really excited to introduce more leagues than we ever have before,” says the Rosens. “One of the things we’re trying to do in the space right now is provide this consistency, this predictability, which makes collegiate esports easier to understand and better set to grow. This year we are announcing six leagues that will be happening this fall.”
Those six leagues being in Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and Rocket League. This will be the first time ever that Tespa ventures outside of exclusively having Blizzard titles with the addition of Rocket League, providing more flexibility for students who wish to partake.
- Tespa Collegiate Series: Overwatch
- Hearthstone Training Grounds
- StarCraft Training Grounds
- Heroes Training Grounds (Heroes of the Storm)
- Collegiate Dungeon Race (World of Warcraft)
- Collegiate Rocket League
Tespa’s doors are only going to become more open to the public with their upcoming membership changes as well.
“One of the things we’re doing this year is we’re actually opening membership to the public. Traditionally a membership for Tespa has been tied to attending a school that has a Tespa chapter. … We’ve had over 1200 different universities represented in our competitive leagues over the past two years, but only a fraction of those have been able to enjoy the full Tespa experience. One of things we’re hoping to achieve is more organic creation of chapters and communities.”
Though that’s not all. Tespa will begin to unload a plethora of features this year to enhance the student experience. To get started, students will have the opportunity to sign up for a Premium Membership which will reward them with exclusive goodies. “Premium membership for us is a way to add value to the lives of the student that are already invested and involved with all the programs that we run as Tespa.
This year we’re calling it Tespa Plus,” the Rosens say. “ … we’re trying to send all of the students who are Tespa Plus members a fully branded Tespa box, it has a membership t-shirt, a mousepad, and some other goodies to get them started with their school year.”
The Rosen brothers also mention that they will bring regular broadcasting to help players grab more exposure for themselves individually and their programs, “By broadcasting six nights a week, we hope to be able to spotlight that top level talent on a regular basis so that local communities can come together, they can form viewing parties, and universities can take a look and be proud of the teams they have representing them on a national level.”
The newly added broadcasts won’t fully focus on the top-level talent, though. Tespa’s new aim is to “remotely integrate the players, so even though they’re playing from their campuses, having webcams on the players where they’re apart of the broadcast is important to us for building the stories,” Rosen mentions. This way of thinking will give new communities visibility in their attempt to grow as a Tespa chapter.
With the exposure for newer chapters they’ll also ensure that they bring more than just regularly scheduled broadcasts, knowing that it will be difficult for any viewer to keep up with all of the new content:
“What we do with the broadcast is not only highlighting the gameplay, but also working with individual students for interviews and crafting bio’s to tell their stories. Another thing that we’ll be focusing a lot on this year is also highlights. Taking the top plays that happen over the course of the broadcast, taking the moments that have the potential to be big stories, and showcasing those outside the broadcast environment.”
Another new feature starting this September will allow participating students to have access to Tespa’s new membership progression program:
“Membership progression is our way of trying to give value back to students even if they’re not paid members. By participating in programs in the Tespa ecosystem you’ll earn experience just like you would in a normal game, and as you level up you unlock new benefits both within the Tespa ecosystem and in-game.”
This new experience will create opportunities for those that aren’t looking to necessarily become professionals and still be rewarded for their efforts by participating in tournaments and connecting with other members.
With Tespa’s new plan they’ll be rolling out more opportunities for students to play when the major events such as Heroes of the Dorm or TCS Overwatch aren’t in session. “Each of our leagues typically has an on-season and an off-season", the Rosens explain. "In the off-season we do something called Training Grounds, where we put together structured competitions where any students, regardless of how good they are, can come together to form a team and play other teams of similar skill levels throughout the season.”
Finding a way to get your foot in the door can be the most difficult step for students wanting to get involved, but Tespa is committed to bridging the gap:
“If there are students out there who are interested in getting involved as a player, going to an event, or trying to find other players on campus to socialize with, I would just say ‘go out there and do it.’ Being a part of a Tespa chapter or competing at that level with friends is one of the most rewarding experiences in college. What we found is that gaming is such a social experience that it really is a very powerful addition to the college life and environment.”
The Rosens part with a realistic take on college gaming.
“Let’s face it. At the end of the day only a very few portion of the overall gamers are going to be able to perform at the highest [level] and one of the things that we’re dedicated to is making sure there’s a fulfilling experience across all levels of that ecosystem.”
If you’re looking to get involved with Tespa this upcoming school year, head over to Tespa.org to find your chapter or create your own for your school.