Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has been selected out of more than 100 applicants as the official site of the 2019 NACE Conference. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) joined Harrisburg University for the announcement in a press conference earlier today, along with Ted Black, Whitaker Center CEO, County Commissioner Jeff Haste and Mayor Papenfuse, from the City of Harrisburg.
Harrisburg University, a NACE member institution, was chosen after a lengthy proposal process. A number of criteria contributed to securing this coveted honor, including the world-class facilities and continued success of its varsity esports program that launched just over a year ago.
“Harrisburg University’s exceptional esports program and state-of-the-art facilities made Harrisburg a natural fit,” said NACE Executive Director, Michael Brooks. “The city and surrounding community have been unwavering in their support of esports with HU really leading the collegiate charge. We’re confident that those who attend the 2019 NACE Conference will feel very welcome in Harrisburg and see for themselves that Harrisburg has quickly become the hub for esports on an international level.”
The National Convention, taking place July 17-19, is a three-day event with attendees from across the U.S. and Canada representing colleges and universities with active varsity esports programs. NACE currently tracks 126 institutions, including two-year colleges to four-year universities.
“Harrisburg University was the 50th university to join NACE in 2017,” added Harrisburg University President Eric Darr. “Becoming a member was very important to us as we built the HU Storm Team. We knew that NACE membership would add insights and structure necessary for building the highest quality program. Harrisburg University was the first to offer full scholarships and we knew that NACE would help get the word out as we recruited our first teams.”
The NACE Convention will utilize all available esports-designated areas of both HU and the Whitaker Center, which offers over 74,000 square feet of space when fully activated. With surrounding amenities like hotels, restaurants and multiple methods for access to the city, NACE recognized Harrisburg’s tourism appeal and expects to bring hundreds of attendees to the city over the duration of the event.
“With this phenomenon on the rise, it’s an exciting time to be recognized as the esports destination,” said Ted Black of the Whitaker Center. “Harrisburg welcomes NACE members to experience what we have built, and see our investment in the esports industry first hand.”
In addition to recruitment discussions at the Convention, NACE plans to address other hot button topics affecting collegiate esports programs, including coaching in esports, growing current programs, athlete health and wellness, and esports facilities. Details on schedule, speakers and registration for the NACE Convention will be available on www.naceesports.org.
About HU Esports
Harrisburg University’s Esports Program is the University’s first–and only–varsity sport. The varsity team competes in some of the most popular esports games around the world, including “League of Legends,” “Overwatch” and “Hearthstone.” Team members compete on 40′ screens in its state-of-the-art arena space and receive full scholarships as part of the varsity team. Follow the team on Facebook and Twitter, or view tournaments on Twitch.