Harrisburg University yesterday unveiled its new team logo, mascot and name, which proved fittingly appropriate as the Susquehanna River rose after days of torrential rain.
HU’s team name is the Storm (logo and mascot pictured below), with the downtown school gearing up for its first season in the emerging field of e-sports.
“Storms have the potential to change the landscape,” said HU President Eric Darr, explaining the choice of team name. “We have the ambition to change the e-sports landscape not just here in central PA, but nationally. Storms are also exciting, energetic, engaging.”
Darr and head coach Geoffrey Wang spoke this morning at a press conference, where they also showed a full line of branded merchandise and introduced the team’s varsity lineup—15 full-scholarship students.
The university is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports and will launch its inaugural season in late September with the Harrisburg University Esports Festival, a block party downtown and a two-day e-sports tournament inside Whitaker Center.
League play will kick off soon afterwards with competition in the team-based multiplayer game, Overwatch. Two other games begin in January: League of Legends and Hearthstone.
Worldwide, e-sports is growing rapidly, as an estimated 427 million people are expected to watch an e-sports event by 2019, according to the sports network ESPN, which regularly broadcasts matches.
At today’s press conference, Wang explained the recruitment process to field his team. It began with an online application, which attracted 500 hopefuls, he said. Eventually, the top 35 prospects were flown to Harrisburg, where they engaged in trial competitions and had interviews to cull the list down to the final 15. Two of the 15, Wang said, were actually current HU students.
“The reason you get into e-sports is to build community,” he said. “We think about that not just for the HU community, but for the Harrisburg community. This is something to bind the community together.”
Harrisburg University Esports Festival (HUE Festival) will take place Sept. 21-22. For more information, visit www.huefest.com.