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Roaring Lions: Lambton College Announces Varsity Esports Program

Another has joined the fold! A new challenger approaches the collegiate esports realm to make their mark. 

This time up is Lambton College, a school of applied arts and tech in Ontario, Canada. The Great White North has become host to a plethora of winning collegiate esports programs — a class whose ranks Lambton looks to join with their new initiative.

Set to launch in September of this year, the new endeavour is detailed in the University’s press release from March 31. 

The release cites the success of esports  programs at Robert Morris University and UC Irvine as a primary factor in the administration’s interest in moving forward with making a leap into collegiate esports. Lambton seeks to have a “keen eye in industry trends” and views esports as the next frontier of collegiate competition. 

Rick Brown, a Media Device Specialist at the school who is at the helm of the new program, took time to discuss it with Collegiate StarLeague.  According to Brown, the journey for this new endeavour began late last year.

“We’ve been looking into eSports since October of 2016.” Brown said.”…we’ve taken trips to explore the scene in Terre Haute, IN…we went to visit Kurt Melcher at Robert Morris University in Chicago to see how they were running things. Kurt basically started what we currently see as a Varsity eSport team.”

Brown himself has played an integral role for Lambton College, pioneering the initiative from the start.

Rick Brown and Lori Atkin – Image Credit: Lambton College

“I brought the idea to a small group and we proceeded to get the idea in front of the Senior Management Team at the College.” said Brown. “Once they heard…we assembled a team of people to prepare for our launch in September.”

The University plans to build on on campus arena that the team and faculty will use – eventually opening up the area, which will contain twenty computer rigs, to the public. 

For Brown and Lambton College, the new program – like many others – is about legitimization in an emerging market. 

“We think it’s important for people to understand that Esports is a viable career and experience on a team will help with any role within the industry whether it’s social media, event planning, broadcasting, etc.” said Brown. “Traditional sports and esports are very similar and those ahead of the curve have known this for quite some time.  Sports teams are creating eleagues and tournaments are drawing more and more viewers both live and online. We want to create partnerships and events that will give our students a competitive advantage in this growing industry.” 

To facilitate the experience for their students, Lambton’s teams will compete in various games and leagues across North America. However, for Rick Brown and his administration, winning and competing aren’t the only valuable thing they desire.

“Student life is a huge part of the overall college experience and this is another way we can engage student beyond the classroom.” said Brown. “Esports will allow us to reach a new demographic and provide these students the opportunity to experience the teamwork, camaraderie, commitment and pride that come with being a part of a team.  I expect it to be fun and bring people together.  If we’re competitive, great, if not, we are still a part of something exciting.”

Something exciting indeed. Lambton, with their leap forward, now joins an innovative class of Universities that continue to push the collegiate esports scene.

If you’re interested in Lambton’s esports initiative as a player, you can find their application here.

How do you see Lambton doing in next year’s slate of tournaments? Let Julian or us know on Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to wish the Lions good luck on their Facebook and Twitter as well!

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