D&H Distributing, a major provider of SMB and consumer technologies to the North American high-tech channel, is proud to announce 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). Focused on partners selling into the K-12 space, the program delivers resources, materials, guidance, and a video-based training curriculum to help partners successfully market esports technology. The certification will include a badge that partners can use on their web sites and social media outlets, which documents their expertise in these exciting technologies.
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 solution 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.
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 channel partners to sell and market solutions in this invigorating, youth-oriented sector.
Esports—which is played entirely 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 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.
“As this category matures, D&H has a window of opportunity to make its customers the premier experts in esports implementation,” said Peter DiMarco, vice president of VAR sales at D&H. “For each high school that adds an esports curriculum, there’s a greenfield opportunity to outfit that district with 15 to 30 thousand dollars’ 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 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. “We’re excited to dedicate our resources to this exceptional certification, and we appreciate having an impressive partner like D&H working alongside us.”
In addition to the K-12 Advisory Board, D&H engages other partner advisory groups whose feedback helps shape D&H’s offering. For example, a group of MSPs from D&H’s ASCII Elite Advisory Group are currently reviewing the company’s Cloud Solutions and Services portfolio including its DaaS (Device as a Service) offering. This includes developing recommendations on how to drive this section of D&H’s business as the market continues toward digital transformation.
“We established the 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,” DiMarco continued. “What a thrill to see the requests of the K-12 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.”
About D&H Distributing
D&H Distributing believes the most important element of doing business is developing relationships for mutual success, delivering superior engagement experiences to its community of partners and employee co-owners. The company continues to build upon its 100-year-old culture, providing a wealth of partner enablement resources, multi-market expertise, and consultative services. D&H maintains a focus on independent retailer and reseller partners, with a product assortment spanning consumer electronics, ProAV, digital displays, collaboration, mobility, home entertainment, smart home automation, small office/home office, video surveillance, digital imaging, PC gaming, cloud-based solutions, home and outdoor products, housewares, and sports and recreation.
The distributor is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, in the US; and in Brampton, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. Additional warehouses are located in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; and Fresno, CA. Engage with D&H toll-free at (800) 877-1200, via www.dandh.com, or follow the distributor’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter feeds, https://www.facebook.com/DandHDistributing/, https://www.linkedin.com/company/dandhdistributing/, and @dandh.
About Esports Education Network
The Esports Education Network (EEN) is a department of the Varsity Esports Foundation (VEF) created to become the home of professional development, training, research in esports. The EEN is an open network, allowing anyone to submit content and material for accreditation. Accredited content will be featured on the network along with EEN’s own original content. We also work with TOs, organizations, corporations, and school districts on package deals where we can put custom packages together depending on the level of training or certification they would like out of their employees.
About High School Esports League
High School Esports League was founded in 2013 and remains the largest and longest-running competitive gaming organization for high school students, with over 3,000 partnered schools and 85,000 participating students — and it is growing. The organization harnesses students’ passion for video games through organized competition and academics, resulting in better engagement, better GPAs, and better career prospects. HSEL is a pioneer in high school esports thanks to its STEM.org certified programs, scholarships, and tournament platform which arm high schools with the knowledge and resources required to positively impact students through competitive gaming. For more information, please visit https://www.highschoolesportsleague.com.
About Varsity Esports Foundation
The Varsity Esports Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established to offer financial assistance to schools and to provide a pipeline for students to reach their potential through Esports. VEF strives to increase literacy around the Esports industry’s positive impact on healthy lifestyles, mental health, community, and STEM. The VEF looks for donors and sponsors to help them support disenfranchised students in low-income urban and rural areas by giving them access to the internet, devices, grants, scholarships, and STEM education through esports clubs in schools.
For the latest news and updates from VEF, like the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/VarsityEsportsFoundation and follow on Twitter @VEsportsFDN, Instagram, and at Twitch.tv/VarsityEsportsFoundation.