The Ottawa University Esports program continues to shine in its first semester of competition. Esports is the 29th and newest OU varsity athletic program.

The Overwatch team finished with a win rate of .600 and Hearthstone is close behind. Those teams are involved in the playoffs Saturday and Sunday in the Esports Arena in Peters Auditorium. The program competes in the Overwatch, Hearthstone, Fortnite and Rocket leagues.

The program — in its inauguaral season — is reaching out to a large fan base. Ottawa was highlighted in a major publishing company’s magazine. There were more than 100 people in attendance at live events, including people from Kansas City, Lawrence and Overland Park. The program received interest from high school students with 148 applications.

The program was born in December 2018. Connor Alne was hired as the first head coach in February.

The Larry D. Peters Auditorium in Administration Building was retrofitted into a $550,000 state-of-the-art esports arena this past summer. The arena is the largest in the Kansas City metro and the state of Kansas with seating for 200 spectators.

Ottawa opened competition in September with a victory in an Overwatch match versus the University of Toledo. Ottawa is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).