Indiana Esports Development, formed by the Indiana Sports Corp. in Indianapolis and Franklin-based Harena Data, recently held its first-ever esports combine. The Esports Combine Virtual Convention was considered so successful, organizers think future combines will maintain a virtual aspect as the event continues to grow.
The combine, the first in a series of annual events, is meant to celebrate the inclusion of esports, the sporting diversity in Indiana and the state’s leadership role in its growth.
The event drew 550 competitors, 1,000 college students, 72 post-secondary institutions and 95 speakers.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Harena Data Chief Strategy Officer Bill Dever and Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the combine was a great success, and the sky is the limit for the burgeoning industry.
“One of the key parts of the Indiana Sports Corp. mission is to use these sporting moments to grow Indy’s reputation nationally and globally and this was among the most, if not the most, impactful event we’ve hosted in that space, especially in the COVID world. Its a great opportunity to put our brand out there and show that we’re a leader, not only in traditional sports but in esports.”
The combine, which aims to provide gamers with an educational pathway through esports, featured six tournaments as well as educational training sessions and college recruiting opportunities.
According to Dever, the event helped 22 students secure collegiate esports scholarships as a result of participation in the event.
“Our highest peak of viewership internationally was 6,300 people watching esports tournaments that we held,” said Dever.
The event brings players and academia together to showcase skills and find scholastic and professional esports recruitment opportunities. The combine serves as a platform for players to learn about school programs around the world while also allowing school programs to learn about the students.
Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn discusses how the esports combine is creating academic opportunities for students.