D&H has introduced a certification program for channel pros who wish to capitalize on the burgeoning esports market.
Aimed at partners who sell to K-12 schools, the new offering was developed in collaboration with the High School Esports League, the Varsity Esports Foundation, the Esports Education Network, and the Middle School Esports League. Partners who enroll will receive access to guidance, learning materials, and a video-based training curriculum.
PwC expects global spending on esports to increase at an 18.3% CAGR between 2018 and 2023 to nearly $1.8 billion. Many channel pros are already taking steps to collect a share of that spending, and D&H hopes that making certification available will attract further resellers to the field.
“As this category matures, D&H has a window of opportunity to make its customers the premier experts in esports implementation,” said Peter DiMarco, D&H’s vice president of VAR sales, in a press statement. “For each high school that adds an esports curriculum, there’s a greenfield opportunity to outfit that district with 15 to 30 thousand dollars’ worth of equipment for gaming hardware, high-performance computing devices, components, displays, peripherals, accessories, or even the installation of a full-on gaming arena. The potential is considerable.”
According to D&H, the K-12 Esports Provider Certification program, as it’s formally known, is the only one of its kind in the channel today. Entering costs $200, though discount vouchers are available. Channel pros who complete the program receive a badge they can use in marketing materials.
D&H, which has been touting the esports opportunity for years, has assembled an extensive line card of esports vendors. Late last year it introduced “everything-as-a-service” esports bundles that offer hardware, cloud software, and professional services at monthly subscription rates.
Unlike football, basketball, and other live sports, esports are played without physical contact. As a result, esports leagues and tournaments have suffered far less disruption from the coronavirus pandemic than the NBA, NHL, and NCAA. Revised projections in April from industry watcher NewZoo predict a 10.6% increase in global esports revenue this year to nearly $1.06 billion. According to the Esports Education Network, millions of dollars in scholarships are available at present from hundreds of colleges with varsity esports programs.
Esports is one of D&H’s strategic focus areas for 2020. Others include cloud computing, Pro AV, collaboration, infrastructure/security, and compute.