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Volume 22 No. 48
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Pioneer in college esports moves to Intersport

Intersport has hired Kurt Melcher, formerly an associate athletic director at Illinois’ Robert Morris University, to lead its esports activities, highlighting a fast-increasing interest among sports marketing agencies in the booming industry.

While at Robert Morris for the past two decades, Melcher became a prominent figure in competitive video gaming, developing the first collegiate-level esports department in the U.S. while also serving as the school’s women’s soccer coach. Last year, he delivered a TED Talk on his work in the burgeoning space.

Melcher will help lead a push for Intersport into collegiate esports competitions, as well as aiding brands in activating in the space.

“They’re thinking really big about how to operate in esports,” Melcher said of Intersport. “If it was just about putting a toe in the water, I don’t think I’d be interested in making the switch and leaving Robert Morris. But we’re looking at this as sort of a huge blank slate with a ton of opportunities.”

Melcher’s work at Robert Morris generated national notice as he led the creation of a varsity program based around League of Legends, even offering half-scholarships to qualifying students. He also advised Elite Sports of India about developing similar university-level esports programs in the world’s second-most populous country.

He will be based out of Intersport’s Chicago headquarters.