Ithaca College’s esports club has seen great success since their founding back in 2019. The club has two separate teams for League of Legends that compete in different leagues, with their “IC Blue” team placing second out of 75 other programs in the Eastern College Athletic Conference during their first two seasons. With the rapid success of the club teams, they expected to have continued support from their school, yet their calls seem to be unanswered.

Many of the club’s members have felt their teams aren’t being given the same chances as other programs at the school, including IC Blue Captain Manny Sanchez.

“The college in the past said ‘Oh, we want to have an esports program,’ but they really have not put their money where their mouth is,” Sanchez said. “The advantage that our school has over other schools is we have an award-winning student media, but unfortunately the college does not seem to be interested in going in that direction.”

Ithaca Esports – A Challenging Road Ahead

The club first gained popularity amidst the pandemic when they were broadcasting their games on ICTV, the school’s local television channel. When the school’s sports-centric show “Bombers Live” had no in-person sports to show, they leaned on the realm of esports to provide content, which showed to have increasing interest from those watching. Even leading them to earning third place for an award at the 2021 CBI National Student Production Awards.

Yet they were cast aside once the regular sports seasons came back.

The lack of a manager or coaches for the teams has made it harder for the club members to keep a consistent schedule on top of their own school schedules. Even being able to use their own training facility has been a struggle.

“We didn’t have access to our practice facility for most of the year, if not all of this year,” Sanchez said. “It is something we had last year during the height of COVID.”

One of the biggest worries for its current members is the longevity of the club with its current amount of support.

“I’m not certain that the program is going to be able to survive five years,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s going to be really tough for the club to continue to exist at the level that exists.”

Written By Carter Barnes