A leading association in the growing world of e-sports gives collegiate members an exclusive benefit.
What’s the benefit? Digital card backs. That may not sound exciting to you, but for players of the wildly popular online card game Hearthstone, earning alternate designs for the backs of the cards players use is a big deal. The cards are usually given as a reward for a specific in-game action, but members of The eSports Association (TeSPA) have an opportunity to get an exclusive card back. To get one, you’ll have to be an active member of a TeSPA local chapter that has at least 25 members by this fall.
Why it works for members: Card backs give members a way to stand out from the crowd, but, more important, they promote involvement with the e-sports community and encourage others to join up. Think of a card back as a badge of honor or a digital version of the swag you’d typically pick up at a conference. Plus, there’s an element of exclusivity involved, since acquiring new card backs is no easy task and many are no longer available to players.
Other benefits: TeSPA’s main benefit is the infrastructure it provides to the burgeoning collegiate e-sports community, made up of students who play online games in organized competitions. Disparate local communities are brought together by local chapters, boards of directors, and boards of advisors across five U.S. regions. As groups grow, so do their benefits: Initially, they get a website, a mailing list, and a few other benefits, but with more members come more in-game rewards, event sponsorships, promotional assistance, and more. And for students looking to eventually take part in e-sports on a professional level, TeSPA provides a prominent launching pad: A recent tournament offered a $35,000 prize pool and drew 4.5 million live views.