The growing Northern Illinois University Esports initiative is benefitting from a generous donation from Traditional Medicinals, a maker of wellness teas in the U.S. since 1974.
The Traditional Medicinals sponsorship has enabled the creation of console gaming rooms at the new Esports Cafés at NIU Hoffman Estates and NIU Naperville, where NIU students and the public can play video games on Xbox, PS4 and Nintendo systems. The console gaming rooms provide an alternative to the Dell gaming PCs in the main café space. Traditional Medicinals is also sponsoring the NIU competitive Esports teams, making it possible for the teams to have official jerseys for the first time. A selection of Traditional Medicinal teas will be available to sample for free at the Naperville and Hoffman Estates cafés.
Although esports – competitive online video gaming – may seem like an unusual match for traditionally made herbal teas, Don Hartman, director of national accounts for Traditional Medicinals, says the two are a natural fit.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity to match up our product line with people who are interested in esports,” he says. “We see that as a growing population and just thought it would be a good match overall.”
While Hartman hopes the video gamers will enjoy some of the company’s popular favorites, such as Organic Peppermint and Ginger Aid (a spicy tea with digestive soothing properties), he thinks esports players will especially appreciate the Traditional Medicinals line of green teas. “Our Green Tea Matcha is very good for energy and concentration,” he says, “which is important for competitive video gaming.”
He also thinks the company’s focus on sustainability and social and environmental activism will appeal to esports fans. “We’re a mission-based company, offering products that are 100% natural, non-GMO and organic,” he says. “Many of our products are fair trade, we have a sustainable supply chain and we’re a solar powered company. We’re one of the authentic companies in the business, and we only make authentic products that work and are really aimed towards overall wellness.”
“We also have developed the Traditional Medicinals Foundation,” Hartman continues, “and we do a lot of work providing education and clean drinking water to women and families in the Thar Desert in India, where we source a significant amount of one of our herbs. We try to do everything right from our supply chain through the finished product.”
The NIU Esports Club competitive teams appreciate Traditional Medicinals’ support of NIU Esports, especially the new jerseys made possible by the donation.
“As I watch various Esports tournaments, I always pay attention to their jerseys,” says NIU Esports Club President Tony Conde, an undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering. “In Super Smash Bros tournaments, a jersey is a sign that the player has skill, esteem and has made it big time. Having the ability to put jerseys on our players’ backs will show that NIU is taking esports seriously.”
Alex Kramer, NIU Esports Club vice president and marketing major, adds, “Much like regular sports, jerseys are a part of your identity, and you and your teammates show unity by wearing the same colors. We’re very happy to have a company like Traditional Medicinals sponsor our jerseys. I love that we work with a company that focuses on giving back, from donating bikes and building schools in India, to helping the environment by using renewable energy. The NIU Esports club will be proud to wear the Traditional Medicinals name on our jerseys.”
For hours, pricing and other information about the NIU Naperville and NIU Hoffman Estates Esports Cafés, visit Go.NIU.edu/esportscafes.