Giant distributor creates certification program for partners selling into K-12 space
D&H Distributing is looking to help channel partners move into the increasingly popular e-sports market with a new certification program aimed at the K-12 space.
The Lowdown: The new K-12 Esports Provider Certification program, announced this month, was developed in conjunction 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 Details: The program, part of D&H’s larger efforts around e-sports, is aimed at partners that are selling into the K-12 space. It includes resources, materials, guidance, and video-based training, and those that achieve certification will receive a badge that they can use on their web and social media sites.
Included in the program is a series of on-demand units and lessons presented by Connor Alne, a former e-sports arena manager for the National College Gaming Association. Partners can begin the certification process now at a cost of $200 per person. In addition, D&H is offering partners discount vouchers for the program.
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based distributor said the certification program was the result of discussions with its K-12 Advisory Board, which focuses on the education marketplace. The solution providers on the board said they wanted an organized curriculum to enable them to compete in the growing high school e-sports space. Now partners like VARs and MSPs will have the training necessary to sell technology into the e-sports space.
The Impact: E-sports are played online on virtual electronic platforms. Market research firm Newzoo earlier this year said that global e-sport revenue would grow 15.7% this year, to $1.1 billion, up from $950.6 million in 2019. In addition, $822.4 million in revenue will come from media rights and sponsorship, and the total audience for e-sports will hit 495 million people, a year-over-year growth rate of 11.7%.
Those numbers were released just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to spread across the globe. D&H said the popularity of e-sports has soared due to the cancellation of live sporting events around the world because of the coronavirus outbreak, making the opportunity for partners even more attractive. D&H said the program offers the only certification for the channel based on e-sports.
In addition, according to EEN, hundreds of colleges have varsity e-sport programs and make millions of dollars available to students. And the distributor said many school districts also see e-sports as a STEM discipline, advancing the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The Buzz: “As this category matures, D&H has a window of opportunity to make its customers the premier experts in e-sports implementation,” said Peter DiMarco, vice president of VAR sales at D&H. “For each high school that adds an e-sports curriculum, there’s a greenfield opportunity to outfit that district with $15,000 to $30,000 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.”
“D&H’s proactive approach to engaging partners in e-sports 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, executive director at the VEF. “We’re excited to dedicate our resources to this exceptional certification, and we appreciate having an impressive partner like D&H working alongside us.”