Industry pioneer signs on to help launch WVU academic esports program | Today

David Chen, an entrepreneur with strong ties to the gaming industry, will help develop WVU’s esports miner framework to launch in early 2023.
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The foundation for West Virginia University academic sports program will be posed with the help of an esports industry leader, David Chen, an entrepreneur with strong ties to the gaming industry.

VShen is responsible for developing the framework for the esports minor which begins in early 2023 with three core cross-departmental courses from the College of Applied Human Sciences and the John Chambers College of Commerce and Economics. Elective courses will be offered by these colleges as well as Reed College of Media.

“Esports is the future. It’s one of the fastest growing sports, and the educational aspect of it gives us this whole new way for students to get in and enjoy things. they love while showing a path to financial security,” Chen said. .

“All they’re going to do will be things that happen in real time. It’s not hypothetical or things that are going to happen 10 years from now. These classes and this program will be centered around real things happening on market right now that WVU can offer these students.”

Chen, who will teach a class each semester within the minor, brings years of business experience to his new role. He created and developed the Chinese services group for Deloitte Mexico from 2005 to 2015 before launching the venture capital firm BLCP Capital in 2015. In 2017, he became one of the first investors in Faze Clan, a grassroots organization esports and entertainment.

“There aren’t a lot of people getting involved that have experience like David,” said WVU esports director Josh Steger. “When people think of esports, Faze Clan is one of those brands that comes to mind for a lot of people. The knowledge and connections he can bring from the work he’s done in the past are such a valuable item to have as we look to build this program and continue to grow esports here.”

Along with his work with Faze Clan, Chen is the founder and president of the North American Collegiate League. The NACL works with over 300 universities and has hosted over 250 esports tournaments while also having partnerships with Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English Premier League and NASCAR.

“It’s really a testament to WVU and the administration here to be so forward and understand the necessity and the need for what’s happening in this industry,” Chen said.

For me, what is most exciting is that we are not just strangers creating this environment or simply investing in it, we are truly part of it. We will bring real world applications to our students.

Esports is now a billion-plus-dollar-a-year industry in the United States. Players compete individually or as a team in a variety of games at the amateur and professional levels.

Lthis autumn, WVU announced the start of its competitive esports program. The program’s first recruit, Noah Johnson, won the Level Next Madden 2021 National Championship at the college level and won the Ultimate Madden Championship Series professionally.

In addition to Madden NFL, West Virginia also has teams in Rocket League, Call of Duty, and Valorant. The Mountaineer Rocket League and Valorant teams made domestic semi-final appearances at tournaments in May.

Learn more about the University’s esports program in the latest issue of WVU Magazine.



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