YPSILANTI – Zach Wigal is living proof that you can have a ton of fun for an awesome cause. Wigal, an Eastern Michigan University alumnus and founder of Gamers Outreach, a charity organization, hosted Gamers for Giving on April 1-2 at the EMU Convocation Center.
The event featured gamers from around the world who participated in its gaming tournament to raise funds and awareness to support Gamers Outreach programs for children’s hospitals. The goal for the event was $200,000, but through participants, sponsors and attendees, it raised more than $315,000.
College of Business marketing lecturer Robert Twells invited Wigal, his former Sports & Event Marketing student, to speak to his classes on April 4. Wigal talked about his successes and the many challenges he has faced, from starting his nonprofit company to organizing the annual Gamers for Giving event. Wigal was recently named by Forbes Magazine in its "30 Under 30" list of the nation's top young entrepreneurs and game changers.
Wigal also highlighted some of the popular gamers who participated, “One of the most notable individuals was Terroriser, an internationally known gamer from Ireland,” Wigal said. “He has two million followers on YouTube.”
Wigal spoke of another well-known gamer, Ms. Vixen, noting that she flew here to here from Seattle and has 240,000 followers on Twitch, a leading social video platform for gamers.
“Together, Terroriser and Ms. Vixen raised over $20,000,” said Wigal.
The streamed viewership of the event had more than 1.5 million views. The host of the streaming was SirScoots, a TBS Network gaming analyst in 2016.
“The eSport field is experiencing tremendous growth,” Twells said. “The global eSport economy, which includes sponsorship, advertising, ticket sales, media rights and merchandise, is expected to grow by 41 percent in 2017, to $700 million, and reach $1.5 billion by 2020.”
Sarah Reiber, an international business major in Twells’ class, said that Wigal provided inspiration, “He is a living example of a hard-working individual that didn’t give up and used his skills to help make the world a better place,” she said.
“The most important thing that stood out to me that Zach said was, ‘You only lose when you stop trying,’” said Reiber.
Gamers Outreach, founded in 2007, is a charity organization that provides gaming equipment, technology and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.