Greenville University and its whole campus is excited. GU is joining the college fever of E-Sports, and they are doing so investing and trusting that this opportunity might bring new students to campus. All those students that are part of the program will be also considered “student-athletes”; they will practice, compete, and improve those time-management skills that every college student in this context needs to have. E-Sports, according to many experts regarding this topic, is “the biggest thing that no one has heard about”, and this statement clearly reflects why other colleges all around the country are trying to make the same move. E-Sports arrived at the collegiate level to thrive and become the sport everybody talks about.
E-Sports is nowadays part of an increasing daily number of college athletic programs that have noticed that the future of sports will be strongly linked to what used to be considered an entertainment tool or, in some cases, a waste of time. Today, E-Sports is a $1.5 billion industry and is expected to grow in the next two years, reaching $2.3 billion by 2020. This is no longer about video games – there is business growth in it. One statistic that has been recently pointed out when addressing the E-Sports world impact is the fact that the last League of Legends (LOL)- a FREE game that can be downloaded online- world championship is the second most-watched sports event ever; just behind the NFL Super Bowl.
This phenomenon can be considered a “fever” because of how rapidly it has grown. E-Sports has taken its spot in college athletics and seems to be getting bigger every day. More and more institutions are enlightened by how positively the installation of these programs can impact athletic departments in the short- and long-term. For big schools (NCAA Division I & II), they will be able to bring world top talent, offering attractive scholarships, who will provide prestige to the institutions. For small schools (NCAA Division III), offering this low-investment athletic program will play an important role in matters of school attendance and recruiting.
Here at Greenville University, the E-Sport program has evolved from being a modest campus club to a regulated and scholarship offering-athletic program. The institution has joined the fever. It has made a considerable amount of investments in different fields, from top-notch computing material to a whole new facility in the basement of the Greenville SMART building, expected to be inaugurated this spring. Coach BJ Fink is the head of the program, which offers a limited amount of E-Sports related scholarships based on skill, versatility, attitude, and acceptance to Greenville University. Giving scholarships is a crucial aspect on today’s context, according to Coach Fink. “Greenville is allowed to offer scholarships in this field because the program is not regulated by the NCAA and its rules as the rest of Greenville’s athletic programs are.” GU offers a brand-new facility that is just waiting for new E-Sport athletes willing to play and, obviously, win.