Originally aired April 1, 2019 and created by Aaron Walling. Click here to view article & newscast in its original format.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Over the weekend the University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted their first ever eSports and Gaming Summit and I had to check it out.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted their inaugural eSports and Gaming Summit this past weekend, showcasing the opportunities that eSports has in the state of Alaska.
UAF had many speakers from the Lower 48 and around the state come in and talk about the importance of eSports.​
One of those speakers was the Director of Partnerships of the Houston Outlaws, an Overwatch League team.​
John Spiher spoke on the buzz in the industry and the wave that is coming.​
“The fact that faculty,: started John Spiher; “staff and the high level decision makers are really trying to make this work and recognize and support that eSports is part of the future and future of sports entertainment will really set UAF apart. It’s been awesome to be part of the process so far and really and bestow some of our knowledge and experience.” ​
Another big idea that is floating around is the possibility of eSports being added to the Alaska Nanooks.​
And one of the speakers knew all about running these types of programs at Shenadoah University.​
“You know I can tell you how valuable it is to have administration on board,” said Joey Gawrysiak. “At Shenadoah, if my president and my provost weren’t on board with eSports never would have happened. You got to have the right people and in the right positions to be supportive of eSports or any other innovative thoughts or programs you are choosing for any of this to get started. If you can’t get started you are not going to be successful.”​
So why eSports?​
Numbers have shown that it is a billion dollar industry with other schools jumping on the wave.​
According to statista.com the revenue will jump up to 1.8 billion dollars by 2022.​
The key note speaker of the event was Jimmy Chan from Twitch who talked about the capabilities of streaming and marketing.​
“It’s really exciting for starting I wanted to engage in the conversation with my faculty back at the University of Houston,” said Jimmy Chan. “But they didn’t want to really meet with me cause they don’t think eSports and gaming. At the time the industry wasn’t very mature yet either so not a lot of companies or investors are really trying to invest into eSports but not it’s very exciting to see a different university and faculties and staff just trying to get behind eSports and try to promote eSports and gaming in a healthy way and see it in a positive light.”​
Many high schools have adopted these types of programs, and in Alaska some schools are preparing to start theirs this year or the next.​
Only time will tell if UAF brings it on board.​
ASAA has received a request from the Yukon Koyuk School District to sanction eSports and will have a Board of Directors Meeting on April 24 and 25 in Kodiak for their quarterly meetup to discuss the request.