Esports might be an unorthodox area of study, but its surge in popularity across the world will likely mean growing demand for professionals in the field.
Esports, or electronic sports, is competitive video gaming featuring multiple players who battle each other in tournaments, which are held all over the world. A legion of fans attend these events or stream the action online, further fuelling this burgeoning industry.
For instance, Newzoo, a global provider of games and esports analytics, found that gamers in the UK spent almost £3.3 billion on computer games in 2016. The company also projected that the global esports market will exceed US$1.6 billion by 2021, reported CNBC.
Competitors may get paid for participating in competitions while winners can walk away with thousands of dollars in prize money.
Universities prepare students for future careers in esports
#TBT to 2017 when alumnus Victor Xin funded the first eSport scholarship in @uoft‘s history! 🎮 If you’re a student with a passion for eSports and are active in a leadership role, this might be the scholarship for you. Read more 👉https://t.co/YbQQRDe5l9 #NationalVideoGamesDay pic.twitter.com/1FxdEejq3f
— U of T Engineering (@uoftengineering) September 12, 2019
In light of the explosion of popularity in esports, a growing number of universities are offering esport-related degrees to prepare students for future careers in the field. Many of the programmes include elements of marketing, event management and business.
For instance, in the UK, Staffordshire University offers a BA (Hons) Esports programme, which focuses on the business of esports. Students here learn to host small and large scale events, develop the skills for single player and multi-player team events, create business plans to build teams, create online communities and promote your events through digital marketing, among other things.
Meanwhile, the MA Esports is designed to prepare students to lead the next generation of people working in the industry. Graduate students are expected to develop higher level research and analytical skills through the development of a substantive research project of their choice.
“The focus will be on strategic level management skills, influencing policies and practices in the industry and developing a critical awareness of the sociological, political and legal landscape,” the website notes.
The University of Chichester also offers a BA (Hons) Esports programme. The degree examines esports from several perspectives, namely: competitive game play, sports science, psychology, event production and business.
Over in the US, Becker College offers a BSc in Esports Management where students learn how to “plan and execute small and large scale events utilising the latest in streaming technology, develop business plans to develop teams, create online communities, and promote events through digital technology”.
Students will also explore the culture of esports, its audience and fan base, and the four dominant game genres that make up the industry.
In Canada, Lambton College offers a two-year Esports Entrepreneurship and Administration diploma. Under the programme, students gain essential sports business knowledge by studying sports marketing, analytics, tournament and league management, special events management, accounting and communications.