University of Akron student Sydney Carlile wants to marry her love of video games and broadcasting after graduation.

That’s why, on a sunny, beautiful Friday, the 21-year-old senior from Alliance was sitting in front of a production board and giant television monitor in the WJW (Channel 8) studio in the stuffy basement of Kolbe Hall.

She and eight other students who enrolled in the school’s new eSports broadcasting class are learning how to produce and stream online video game competitions.

“It’s something that I’d be interested in pursuing as a career,” Carlile said.

UA announced its eSports program last year and will start offering scholarships this fall for varsity video game players.

Juan Contreras, general manager of UA’s Z-TV and professor of practice, realized that the new program also would need students trained in broadcasting the competitions.

His three-week crash course began Monday and on Friday, students conducted their first test, streaming a competition on UA’s ZTVGoofingOff channel on Twitch.tv.

The students are trained to use the broadcasting equipment, including television cameras, graphics and special effects.

They also are learning how to serve as commentators. Yes, even eSports broadcasts need someone calling the action.

To be able to stream and talk competently about the game play, students also need to study the games themselves: League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Heart of Stone.

On Friday, three volunteers — Ian Ramsier, Jake Hamblen and Joe Milo — played Counter Strike as a team so the students could hone their craft.

Matt Speidel, 20, a senior from Pittsburgh who’s majoring in media studies, served as the commentator, breaking down every grenade toss and kill.

Gamers enjoy watching other gamers play. Twitch.tv averages 900,000 concurrent viewers, said Michael Fay Jr., UA eSports director and head coach.

It’s common for colleges — ESPN estimated in mid-March that there are more than 50 varsity eSports programs around the country — to stream their competitions.

Fay said it’s important for them to be streamed to increase recognition of the sport.

“Awareness is a huge factor in eSports,” he said. “One of the advantages of being able to put on a broadcast is we have the opportunity to spread the awareness and promote the pursuit of mastery.”

UA junior Drew Baker, who’s majoring in programming, enjoys streaming his own game play on Twitch.

That’s why the 20-year-old from Hudson signed up for the eSports broadcasting class.

“It’s very interesting,” he said. “In the future, I’d love to produce certain fighting games.”

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.