Video streaming firm Twitch has partnered with non-profit organization Cxmmunity to build the first-ever esports league geared specifically for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) students.
The partnership between Twitch and Cxmmunity will be aimed at creating a venue that will offer competitive opportunities for HBCU students to participate within an organized esports league.
This will also allow HBCU students to gain access to educational and scholarship support being offered through Twitch Student.
Cxmmunity is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization focused on increasing minority participation in esports and the gaming industry.
Twitch director of consumer communication Samantha Faught mentioned that the company and Cxmmunity has established partnerships with Oakwood University, North Carolina Central University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Johnson C. Smith University and Florida A&M University.
Faught added that Johnson C. Smith is the first HBCU to offer an accredited esports program.
Ryan Johnson, founder and executive director of Cxmmunity, said: “The south is the cultural epicenter of the world. The opportunity to build the first HBCU esports league out of Atlanta is an honor and a privilege. As an HBCU graduate I am beyond excited to bring esports scholarships, internships, and job opportunities to students of color.”
In a news release, Kevin Hoang, manager of scholastic partnerships at Twitch, said: “I’m proud to be working alongside Cxmmunity to help minorities receive access to internet and devices to continue their education from home while pursuing gaming and esports.”
African American in esports
The news release also cited an International Game Developers Association finding that while 83% of black teens play video games African Americans only comprise a small minority of video game creators.
The planned esports league will give students at HBCUs the opportunity to connect with video game publishers and to develop skills around streaming and content creation.
Twitch and the US Army
In mid-July, Twitch ordered the US Army to to stop using fake prize giveaways to attract new recruits.
A report in The Nation showed that the army has been tricking Twitch viewers to go to its recruitment page by offering them a chance to win an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. The controller, which costs upward of $200, is described as an “enhanced controller with customizable options and extra paddles for advanced play”.
The report stated that clicking on the offer will send viewers to an army recruitment page “with no additional mention of a contest, odds, total number of winners, or when a drawing will occur”.
Following the release of the report, streamers and viewers from across the community expressed their anger over the issue on social media.
In a statement to gaming website Kotaku, a spokesperson for Twitch said: “This promotion did not comply with our Terms and we have required them to remove it.”
The US Armed Forces has an extensive deal with Twitch to take advantage of the platform’s popularity among young American men. It is the official sponsor of Twitch’s esports brand, Twitch Rivals.
Some of the company’s biggest tournaments for games like League of Legends and Valorant, feature the US military logo prominently in the branding and commentators are required to frequently mention the army.