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New England College Launches Esports Program Led by Nationally Renowned Esports Player

Tyrelle Appleton Steps Out of Competitive Scene to Create NEC Esports Program; NEC Esports Arena Opens January 2019.

Tyrelle Appleton, New England College Esports Coach

Tyrelle Appleton, New England College Esports Coach

To complement academic programs that teach game design, game theory, social media branding, and strategy, New England College has entered the exciting new world of esports with plans to give students access to a unique New Hampshire technology environment, only found in Henniker. Starting in January, the College will launch a new esports program led by Tyrelle Appleton, a nationally respected former esports competitor, who will share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of gamers and designers. New England College is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the governing body for esports.

Appleton launched the region’s first ever collegiate esports program in 2017, and was the first ever competitive “Gears of War” player in the country to formally partner with Major League Gaming ( He will serve as head coach, building on deep involvement in the esports scene with experience in both tournament organization, sponsorship procurement and management.

The backbone of the gaming technology at New England College is Dell’s Alienware platform, the most popular gaming system in the world; it is offered at only a handful of colleges nationwide.

“It is the arena where the very best compete, and our technology will not only help NEC students learn and sharpen their skills, but we will be able to use this technology to provide students the very latest in video game design and development,” explains Appleton. Alienware pushes the boundaries of current gaming limits, and offers extensive partnerships nationally that will give students in Henniker unique and expansive esports opportunities.

A position on the esports roster will be competitively available to all interested students. Because this is a club sport open to all students, some will have the opportunity to build their skills and move to the professional ranks while others may play casually. Students on the roster must meet eligibility requirements including full-time enrollment, and progress toward degree requirements.

New England College will offer games such as “Overwatch,” “Fortnite,” and “League of Legends” – the most popular games in the world. All are online multi-player games and participants will compete as a team to defeat an opposing institution.

“Video gaming has been a popular activity for a long time,” said New England College President Michele Perkins, “but esports is just now emerging as a competitive event at the college level and we plan to be actively engaged from the start in this emerging field.”

Students learn, through participating in competitive esports teams, the same skills and talents as other sports: leadership, communication, perseverance, and determination. And, putting together an esports team really isn’t so different from putting together any other traditional sports team. New England College’s new esports program will include men and women competing with teams at other institutions.

New England College is currently building an esports arena at its Henniker campus, which will feature a competition and practice setting along with a comfortable vibe. Appleton anticipates 20-40 students will join the first semester. “My hope for the esports program at New England College is to build it from the ground up and help establish New England College as a major competitor in the esports field,” said Appleton. 

The addition of an esports program is intended to promote a holistic approach to the college experience, while attracting students who possess skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, which are transferable to success in the classroom. New England College is a leader in technology focused programs and provides a platform where students can showcase their talents and compete with other college students regionally and nationally.