D&H Distributing, a major provider of SMB and consumer technologies to the North American high-tech channel, announced the launch of a unique esports certification program in collaboration with the High School Esports League (HSEL), the Varsity Esports Foundation (VEF), the Esports Education Network (EEN), and the Middle School Esports League (MSEL).
The distributor is offering its partners a D&H Solutions Lab webcast on August 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET, “Esports through a Pandemic and the Next Normal.” It explores the growth of this category during lockdown, how to pitch school decision-makers as we approach the fall/spring budget seasons, and critical strategies on how partners can take advantage of this trend. The session will include guests from the VEF and EEN.
The EEN “K-12 Esports Provider Certification” program came about when D&H conferred with its K-12 Advisory Board, a partner engagement group that D&H established to discuss best practices and real-world needs in the education marketplace. These providers expressed a need for an organized curriculum to help them capture the growing high school Esports opportunity, including a certification insignia that could be leveraged with end-customers.
The program delivers resources, materials, guidance, and a video-based training curriculum to help dealers successfully market esports technology. The certification will include a badge that D&H partners can use on their web sites and social media outlets, which documents their expertise in these exciting technologies.
“As this sector grows, D&H will work with dealers to become the early authorities in esports deployment. This will involve Pro AV categories such as direct-view LED video walls, traditional LCD/LED video walls, auditorium-venue projectors, large-viewing size projector screens, professional audio, networking, and IT solutions of high-performance gaming hardware, components, and accessories,” Peter Hurley, director of D&H’s Pro AV Business Unit in a statement. “Each district that adds an esports program represents a potential sale of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, or even installation of a full-on gaming arena. The possibilities of this burgeoning field are considerable.”
D&H has been cultivating relationships with professional high school and higher education esports organizations such as the HSEL, VEF, EEN, and The National Association of College Esports (NACE), emerging as an early supporter of the collegiate and K-12 gaming category. The program is the only such esports-based certification offering in the channel marketplace today. It leverages expert content and business acumen from some of the category’s foremost associations and educators, providing comprehensive resources and information to allow partners to sell and market solutions in this invigorating, youth-oriented sector.
“D&H’s proactive approach to engaging partners in esports is admirable. They’ve helped drive the category to the forefront in their channel, including by recommending the launch of this program,” said Bubba Gaeddert, the executive director at the VEF in a statement. “We’re excited to dedicate our resources to this exceptional certification, and we appreciate having an impressive partner like D&H working alongside us.”
As a go-to consumer electronics and esports distributor, D&H can help dealers fulfill Pro AV applications ranging from digital signage and projects to esports gaming rooms, large-scale LED display walls and video projection screens for mass viewing of gaming activities, classroom deployments, huddle spaces, and more. Through it all, D&H strives to be a trusted resource, providing multi-market expertise, consultative services, and enduring relationships with industry leading manufacturers.
Esports—which is played entirely on-screen via virtual electronic platforms—has experienced a huge boon due to the cancellation of live sporting events across the country, prompting partners to increase their investment in this high-potential segment. According to EEN, there are hundreds of colleges with varsity esports programs and millions of dollars in scholarships available for students who excel at these games. Esports is also a “STEM” discipline, aligning with the efforts of many districts to immerse more students in science and technology-related courses. However, as of yet, the nascent state of the category has made it difficult for partners to know the best way to enter this vertical.
The curriculum includes a series of on-demand units and lessons presented by Coach Connor Alne, former esports arena manager for the National College Gaming Association. The certification is available as of July 1 and will cost $200 per registrant, but D&H is offering its partners vouchers to complete the program at a discount. The goal is to educate more D&H partners on these solutions and how they can best be marketed to school district decision-makers.
“We established the K-12 Advisory Board and VAR Track engagements to ascertain the real-world needs of our partners and create executable, concrete services based on their input. It’s all about partner engagement and enablement,” Peter DiMarco, D&H’s vice president of VAR sales said in a statement. “What a thrill to see the requests of the board come to fruition so quickly and commendably, with the help of the expert relationships that D&H has been fostering in the esports world for several years.”