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D&H Distributing Bullish on the Channel's Growing Esports Opportunity

Esports is a rapidly growing opportunity for VARs and MSPs. Here's how to take advantage.

Lynn Haber

March 10, 2020

4 Min Read
Esports
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Esports is an emerging opportunity for partners that at least one distributor, D&H Distributing, is encouraging partners to explore.

No, esports isn’t about betting on the ponies or wrestling matches. For channel partners, esports is about connecting high school and college teams with trusted reseller and managed service providers (MSPs) who can outfit esports organizations with cutting-edge technology.

There’s a group called the High School eSports League (HSEL) whose mission is to make esports available to every student as a legitimate varsity-level sport in high schools across the nation. HSEL contends that through organized esports competitions, students will tie their commitment to gaming to their success in academics and future careers. The National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE) does similar work at the college level.

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D&H Distributing’s Tina Fisher

“We came about esports through our K-12 reseller partners — they’re the biggest vertical that we service,” Tina Fisher, executive director, vendor business management at D&H, told Channel Futures. “These partners are starting to get questions from their schools about esports, products for an esports environment, and which vendors have products that work together. Schools are looking for someone to help them be their consultant to pull it all together.”

An esports environment might vary from school to school. It might be a portable environment that’s set up in a gym or a computer lab that becomes a makeshift computer/esports gaming lab.

“Or, they recognize the opportunity … may have funding coming in through STEM grants, and they’re recognizing that this could become something bigger such as a team sport type of environment as much as their baseball, basketball and football teams are,” said Fisher.

Esports scales from a lab in a K-12 school, to colleges, where it first got started; in fact, Harrisburg University’s eeports team, known as The Storm, placed first in last May’s Collegiate Esports Championship. A D&H customer, the university honored it as its distributor business partner of the year for the work it did with the local university on esports.

According to a recent piece on NPR, more than 170 colleges and universities participate in esports, and there’s more than $16 million in college scholarships available. No wonder high schools are gearing up.

An esports environment includes a gaming desktop and monitor, mouse, keyboard and headset, and furniture such as gaming chairs and desks. Outfitting a medium or small arena, there’s also an opportunity for a pro audio/visual environment, including large format displays, projectors and screens, and speakers — and then there’s the networking. The role for partners goes beyond the hardware. Esports requires an integrated solution.

D&H lists esports equipment by categories such as complete systems, components and accessories, monitors and displays, ProAV, and power and networking.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for a reseller to help with a solution,” said Fisher. “And, in that environment, there’s a constant refesh cycle because they want the latest and greatest.”

Some vendors in play in esports include Acer (Predator), HP, LG, Nvidia, Termaltake, ASUS (ROG), Intel, Logitech, Poly, ViewSonic, Dell (Alienware), Lenovo (Legion), MSI, Samsung, Corsair, Kingston (HyperX), NEC, Sennheiser, Aruba and Netgear.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker, 3Q19, shipments of gaming desktops, notebooks reached 10 million units, a year-over-year increase of more than 10%. Shipments of gaming monitors grew more than 76% in one year, to 2.2 million units. IDC defines gaming PCs as desktops or notebooks hat have a Premium or Performance grade GPU, including the mid-range and high-end offerings from Nvidia and AMD. Professional-grade GPUs such as the Quadro or Radeon Pro are excluded from this category. Gaming monitors are those with a refresh rate of 100 Hz or higher.

Demand for partners in esports is building. D&H has an esports landing page, is working on an esports playbook for partners and is offering webinars, as well as other education to help partners learn and get involved in this growing market segment.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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