LONDON, ONT. -- Western University is launching a season of esports, after COVID-19 concerns halted in-person athletics.

Starting Oct. 5, students can complete against one another in six different games online.

Students will play intramural games, the best of the best will make it to the esports playoffs.

Winners will receive a sought after purple shirt.

“The games we will be offering are NHL 20, NBA 2K20, Madden NFL 20, NBA 2K20, FIFA 20, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Rocket League,” says Guy Schultz, program coordinator at Western.

After in-personal athletics were cancelled at Western University due to COVID-19, Shultz is glad to present an alternative for students to connect over.

“Maybe just to meet new people, meet new friends, I see it as a good thing and I see it growing over the next few years,” says Schultz.

Various games will be offered for different consoles including XBOX One, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC, but players have to play on their own consoles.

“The idea behind that is to offer a bunch of different opportunities to play,” says Schultz.

First-year Western student Kyle Spackman, says esports is a "cool way to go" amidst COVID-19. Spackman is on the university’s varsity squash team, but is currently not able to play on campus.

“Not being able to compete there is a bit of a void where I need to compete in something. I feel like [esports is] a good outlet.”

Spackman’s varsity teammate, Antonio Mendes, says he’s heard about the esports season and calls it an interest of his.

“It’s an easy way to connect with others, especially over an online platform. It takes away the risk with COVID, while still connecting with other first-years and upper-year students,” says Mendes.

More than 80 people have signed up but there are approximately 1,500 spots left. Skill level doesn't matter, since the season will be separated into two different divisions: Open-Beginner and Open-Advanced, with zero gender requirements.

The goal is to livestream the playoffs. Schultz is working on creating a Western Twitch for people to watch.

The last date to register is on Sept 30.

The regular season will be approximately five weeks long (Oct. 5 – Nov. 8). Teams must play a minimum of five matches over the course of the regular season (the deadline is 11:59 p.m.on Nov. 8) in order to be eligible for the playoffs.