In February Ashland University announced they would begin an esports initiative stating they would be vetting for teams in League of Legends and Overwatch, among other popular titles.
Last week the private university in Ashland, Ohio added Fortnite to their arsenal of games for their esports program in the coming months offering $4,000 in scholarships per year. They will now become the first collegiate institution to recruit for a Fortnite team as well.
While Ashland U’s esports program is still young, it’s already a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and is beginning construction of an esports arena in the school library later this month.
Esports scholarships have become more and more common as esports becomes more accepted as “mainstream”. Universities and even High Schools are recognizing the trend and taking advantage in hopes of attracting more students. While most institutions have invested in long-standing and heavily popular titles like League of Legends, Ashland University has taken a risk adding Fortnite to their program. The risk comes from the fact that Fortnite esports technically doesn’t exist…yet. Currently creating custom games isn’t available to the public but developer Epic Games is obviously working out the kinks as they host regular Fortnite “Friendlies” with content creators along with a hosting an offline tournament at DreamHack: Winter and the most recent event at Esports Arena Las Vegas featuring popular streamer and ex-Halo competitor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.
Ashland isn’t the only organisation taking the risk, notable esports organisations such as Team SoloMid and FaZe Clan have all signed teams for the inevitable beginnings of Fortnite esports.
Esports Insider says: Fortnite is growing in popularity day by day, especially to the younger, high school players. Offering scholarship opportunities like this is a smart move and a big step for collegiate esports as a whole. We’re sure to see other institutions following in their steps soon.