Lachlan Compton ’25
Saint Paul’s should have an e-sports club. Not only would this provide students with a COVID-19-friendly activity, but e-sports are becoming an increasingly lucrative career possibility. For one, this could increase our ability to pursue scholarships in America universities.
According to the National Association of Collegiate E-Sports, the largest member-based association of US college varsity E-sports programs, their association has over 170 member schools with more than 16 million USD in scholarships and financial aid. But it is not only less-prestigious schools that have E-sports programs, the University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, and the University of Utah. In fact, the University of Utah was the first school from the Power Five Conferences to offer varsity E-sports.
In May 2021, 13 universities in Canada (including the University of Manitoba) launched the Canadian Collegiate Esports League (CCEL). The main games being played include Overwatch, Rocket league, CS-GO, and League of Legends. Professional Esports salaries can be remarkably high. For example, the Overwatch league paid an average base player salary of 106,000 CAD in 2020.
Even though only a small share of current professional e-sports players went through the college leagues, the college path is still new, and this number is likely to grow in the future. Some colleges are investing millions into their e-sports programs. Another indicator of how big e-sports are becoming is the colossal amount of money backing it. MIT holds one of the most important annual sports analytics conferences in the world.
This conference is about the economics and business of sports, including e-sports. This increasingly popular topic at the conference, reflects on the growth of e-sports popularity.
One of the issues people (i.e. parents) have with video games is that it is very isolating and anti-social. Being part of a team that you know in-person can change this, and turn gaming into a real bonding experience and actually cause kids to become less isolated.
High schools all over America have been opening e-sports programs, giving kids a great opportunity to connect and be part of their school, and enjoy something they love. The best way you can get into e-sports is to find a game you enjoy and see if they have a ranked or competitive mode.
From there, you can play everyday and keep improving your skills, grow as a player, and climb the rankings trying to get that number one spot to one day do it for a living.
Just like in physical sports, exceling in e-sports takes a lot of time and dedication. From growth in college to selling out stadiums professionally, e-sports is just getting started.
Photo Credit: Bruce Liu/Wikimedia