“On our Facebook page, we have compounded over 1,800 graduates and active members and 500 current members,” Pardue said. “We expect at least 300 to 400 throughout the day.”
Though it is their first time organizing GameFest, the two juniors were ready for the challenge.
“It’s been a semester-long process,” said Zhou. “We’ve been planning it since the summer. We’ve had good frames of reference from the previous events.”
The eSports club does gain some help for the event from sponsors.
“We have a couple consistent sponsors like Tespa — they’re a collegiate eSports organization that’s nationwide and has a bunch of chapters all over the U.S.," Pardue said.
However, Pardue and Zhou are constantly working on their own to improve GameFest. For the first year in the club’s history, the co-presidents have instilled a club dues system to help gather funds for better prizing and food at their events.
Zhou and Pardue agreed that running a club as large as theirs takes preparation and organization. Because of this, the co-presidents decided to split the eSports’ club board into two sections to function as a system of checks and balances.
“Because we’re such a big club and we support so many games,” Zhou said, “we’ve divided our game heads, who basically coordinate all their individual tournaments and what we call core, which is basically the board itself. We make the decisions and then we run it by the game heads to see if they are okay with it.”
Outside of UNC, eSports has grown tremendously as an industry. Goldman Sachs estimated the value of eSports to break $1 billion by 2020.
“We’ve had an eSports club at UNC for six years, but it really hasn’t grown too big until the past three years,” Pardue said.
The co-presidents have already began preparing to create a bigger and better GameFest in the spring semester.