It’s Not a Game: Howard University Takes Home $80,000 At ESports Tournament

It’s Not a Game: Howard University Takes Home $80,000 At ESports Tournament

The Howard University Call of Duty team, Cold Steel, just gave the legendary HBCU another reason to have school pride.

Cold Steel took home an impressive $80,000 share of the $500,000 prize pool at this year’s Mountain Dew Real Change esports tournament in Atlanta. A representative for the tournament told The Hilltop, “The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge is an extension of MTN DEW’s commitment to investing and uplifting Black entrepreneurs through the MTN DEW Real Change Opportunity Fund, which launched in 2021. The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge supported Black gamers at HBCUs by sponsoring a nationwide HBCU esports tournament, in partnership with CXMMUNITY”.

The win was a great indicator of what’s possible for the future, as team members remarked on how far they’ve already come. Senior marketing manager, Deante Taylor, shed light on how they managed in their first tournament, versus how they performed in February, saying, “…we had no proper system setups, no proper equipment. We were even on dorm Wi-Fi.” This year, with the help of Verizon, Gaming Cxmmunity Co. made it possible for Howard to launch a brand new esports lab. There’s no doubt that the upgrades contributed to the team’s success and ability to compete at the next level.

Gaming Cxmmunity Co. has helped 11 HBCUs build state-of-the-art gaming labs in order to prepare them to take part in competitions. In three years, the company has grown from a network of two schools to 35. Through its partnerships with brands like Mountain Dew, the company has been able to host tournaments and continue building bridges that make the gaming world more accessible to HBCU students.

The Howard University team faced tough competition on their road to victory, with some of the best teams from fifteen other HBCUs descending upon the tournament. A key to their success was the pride many members of the team felt in representing their historic institution. Reese Samuel, who also is part of the NEC champion swim team, split his time between both sports – going so far as flying back and forth to Atlanta to attend the tournament. “Being on the team has been great. We have a lot of team spirit and pride in what we do. It feels good to be seen and noticed. Outside of that, I love the environment that the team creates,” Samuel said.

Howard University continues to be a place for Black people to push boundaries and succeed limitlessly.