The HBCU Esports community keeps thriving, with much of its growth driven by two pioneering members of the Divine Nine who are proud HBCU graduates themselves: Ryan Johnson, an Alpha Phi Alpha member, and Chris Peay, an Omega Psi Phi member.
This week, the visionary minds behind Cxmmunity Media, Ryan Johnson, a Fall 2018 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Eta Lambda Chapter at Oakwood University, and Chris Peay, a Spring 2015 initiate of Omega Psi Phi’s Tau Psi Chapter at North Carolina Central University, kicked off the eagerly awaited fourth season of their HBCU Esports League.
The season, which will kick off on Sunday, September 17th will bring together student gamers from 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to go head-to-head in a series of tournaments for a chance at $170,000 in prize pools towards scholarships.
HBCU teams competing include Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Wilberforce University, Morehouse College, Florida Memorial University, Alabama A&M, Benedict College, Claflin University, Delaware State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Southern University, North Carolina Central University, Dillard University, Morgan State University and Texas Southern University.
With a growing buzz across campuses and the internet, football legend, Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson has attached himself to the competition this season as the league’s ambassador with additional surprise guest appearances slated by some of the biggest names in gaming culture throughout its duration.
“I’m excited to be working with the HBCU Esports League and help them grow to new heights in their fourth season, “ said OchoCinco. “Gaming has always been a passion of mine and I wanted to support Cxmmunity Media’s mission to diversify the gaming industry.”
“We are excited to see the continuous growth and reach of the HBCU Esports league as we work towards driving inclusion forward in esports, while providing an entertaining experience for all to enjoy,” said Cxmmunity Media Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Johnson. “Each new season is a constant reminder of the importance of fueling Black communities of gaming hopefuls with the resources and opportunities to chart a path towards professional advancement in the industry.”
The league has also been backed by some big brand partners including Verizon, Discover, MTN Dew and Hot Pockets who are helping support of Cxmmunity Media’s mission to future-proof diversity in gaming.
According to Cxmmunity, despite 83% of Black teens identifying as gamers, Black professionals are vastly underrepresented in the gaming category, comprising only 4% of the industry. Since launching in 2021, Cxmmunity Media has made significant strides in uniting brands and the industry at large to help change this, and provide Black gamers with the platform, exposure, and resources to monetize in gaming. To date, Cxmmunity Media has donated $1.3M towards scholarships for HBCU students through tournament prize pools, engaged more than 600 Black gamers and 40 HBCUs, and has provided internships in the gaming industry to more than 20 HBCU students.
“For the past three seasons, we’ve been able to illustrate how culture plays a vital role in the future and longevity of gaming,” Chris Peay, Chief Marketing Officer for Cxmmunity Media stated. “We’re thrilled to continue to be a conduit for brands and people of influence to join in our mission to future-proof diversity in the industry.”
For those looking to tune in, season four of the HBCU Esports League can be streamed on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/cxmmunity with the Fall term culminating with the return of Discover Bowl on December 17th. You can also keep up with the HBCU Esports League by following from Cxmmunity Media @cxmmunity.co and the HBCU Esports League @hbcuesports.gg on Instagram and Twitter.