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Game On!

Port, EIEF partner for SA8 Collegiate eSports Invitational - the first of its kind for the San Antonio region.


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – In anticipation of its upcoming 130,000-square-foot innovation center, scheduled to open in 2022, Port San Antonio is already playing a leading role in efforts to highlight the eSports component that will be a central activity within the vast facility.

As part of this endeavor, the Port has partnered with Esports in Education Foundation (EIEF), a local nonprofit that facilitates eSports competitions for students who wish to develop skills for rewarding STEM/STEAM-based careers.

Events developed by EIEF allow participants to utilize their communication, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination and leadership acumen while gaining experience for careers in industries thriving at the Port and elsewhere.



SA8 tournament stream featuring popular video game title Super Smash Bros. 

The first such event, the SA8 tournament, took place on February 27. EIEF's inaugural regional gaming competition featured eight teams of students from Texas A&M University - San Antonio, The University of Texas at San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word, The University of Texas at Austin, Trinity University, Schreiner University, The University of Texas at the Rio Grande Valley and The University of Houston

The tournament, which featured the popular video game title Super Smash Bros., saw participants vying for the top spot for both bragging rights and award monies disseminated through EIEF's Scholarships Through Competition program.

In the end, the University of Houston squad was declared the victor in the Crew Battles bracket, netting the team a $1,000 prize. The Singles bracket saw a three-way tie between The University of Texas at the Rio Grande Valley, University of Houston and The University of Texas at Austin – with the teams splitting the $600 award. Over 1,100 people viewed the competition via EIEF's Twitch and Facebook streams.


Photo credit: Dustin Vela/DVEL Photography.

"It was incredibly gratifying to see participation from several top schools in the region," said EIEF Founder Sam Elizondo. "Even more exciting was the response from students when they felt supported by an organization such as ours. We received so much intrigue from the students, who continually asked when the next event would be and how they could be a be a part of it. This is exactly what we had hoped for."

The Scholarships Through Competition program prepares students ages 18 to 25 for careers in game design, graphic design, web development, broadcast production, information technology, robotics, computer science, cybersecurity, graphics and animation, among other areas.

EIEF recognized a void in the current eSports climate for events that focused on promoting transferrable STEM/STEAM skills and realized that students may need help addressing the financial burden often associated with pursuing higher education around those skills.


Photo credit: Dustin Vela/DVEL Photography.

"Competition winners receive prizes ranging from $250 to $5,000, which are then used toward the purchase of materials such as books, computers, software and hardware at students' preferred institutions of higher education, or be applied toward tuition," continued Elizondo.

Many participants in the Scholarships Through Competition program come from low-income households and attend underfunded schools that often lack resources found in more affluent areas.

"We're focusing on the south and central regions of Texas for that reason," added Elizondo. "There is a tremendous impact that can be felt if we find ways to support the talent in these regions and showcase how hard some of these students work – not only by excelling in their studies, but on things that they are passionate about as well. The skill sets they are honing while playing video games, beyond the tactile eye-hand coordination, are sought after by most businesses in the tech sector. We want to focus on finding this talent and keeping them here in Texas."


EIEF gaming station at Fiesta de los Niños 2019. Photo credit: Port San Antonio.

Elizondo is a veteran in the San Antonio gaming community. In 2017, he founded the LFG Cybercafe – a modern arcade and LAN center – to help high school students develop team-building skills for success in the classroom and beyond. More recently, Elizondo helped organize the gaming station at Port San Antonio's 2019 Fiesta de los Niños celebration.

Port San Antonio understands the increased role of eSports in both education and workforce development. As a result, the Port is further supporting San Antonio's burgeoning gaming sector through its partnership with EIEF as it helps develop tomorrow's tech leaders.

“Over the last few years, Port San Antonio has built a strong relationship with our local eSports community, and we are committed to supporting its success and growth," said Port San Antonio Business Development Specialist Stephanie Garcia. "It is equally important for the Port to grow along with the community, and our partnership with the EIEF is only the beginning. We want our local gamers to feel that the upcoming innovation center, particularly the eSports arena, is their home – a place where they can have fun gaming while mastering their acumen to help build their futures.”

innovation center

The Port’s upcoming innovation center will feature an eSports arena, the first of its kind in San Antonio. Source: RVK Architects. 

"EIEF's partnership with the Port is invaluable to us as a fledgling non-profit organization," stated Elizondo. "We have just started on this path, and to have an organization that has left an indelible mark on the region rally behind us does embolden us on our pursuit. I believe the missions of EIEF and the Port align very well. Together, we have great opportunities to make change and be impactful."

game 2

Photo credit: Dustin Vela/DVEL Photography.

About the Esports in Education Foundation (EIEF)

Founded in 2019, EIEF is a nonprofit entity that utilizes eSports as a conduit to explore STEM/STEAM based career opportunities and higher education. The organization aims to expand the view of gaming as an industry while providing scholarships, mentoring, internships and other opportunities that connect the gaming community with complementary careers in advanced technology. Learn more at


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