In 2015, Statista reported that around 809 million people worldwide were “aware” of Esports. The firm reports that this number is projected to reach a staggering 1.57 billion this year. Statistics on the annual eSports combined prize pools worldwide from 2010 to 2017 are even more astounding. Statista reports that prize pools nearly quadrupled, from $35 million U.S. dollars to $121 million during the seven-year period. In terms of top eSports tournaments based on prize pool, as of November 2017, The International 7 took the lead, with a hefty $24.69 million U.S. dollars.
With figures like these, it’s not surprising that eSports programs are being developed just about every other day. Today, we would like to tell you about three.
We are pleased to announce that Marquette University, Misericordia University, and Ohio Northern University have joined the nation’s growing list of schools with varsity eSports programs. Here you go.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marquette University (MU) has announced the launch of the Big East’s very first varsity eSports program. The program will be offered in fall of 2019, with tryouts, coaches and regular practices. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that MU will build a state-of-the-art facility to host eSports, with help from corporate donors, and will be open to the general student body.
The school points out that, “approximately 35 percent of players in the popular North American League of Legends are full time college students. Approximately 70 percent of college eSports players are pursuing majors in science and technology.” On the school’s website, MU Athletics Director Bill Scholl said, "we expect that our varsity eSports team will collaborate closely with our Department of Computer Science, positively impact student recruitment, and provide an avenue for leadership development and teamwork opportunities for students who many not otherwise have been engaged in activities outside the classroom."
Esports has been a club sport at MU since 2015, with 40 participants representing the University at Big East events.
Founded in 1881, Marquette University serves more than 8,400 undergraduate and 3,200 graduate and professional students from nearly all states and 84 countries. The school offers more than 250 majors, minors, graduate, and certificate programs in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Marquette is accredited through The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Misericordia University, Dallas, Pennsylvania
The Athletic Department at Misericordia University (MU) has announced that eSports will become a varsity activity this fall. According to the Dallas Post, “the move makes Misericordia the fifth member of the Middle Atlantic Conference to add eSports.” This latest addition brings the number to 26 for varsity options at the school.
In the Post report, Athletic Director Chuck Edkins said, the Department has been “pretty methodical” in its’ approach. “We’ve seen a number of schools in the MAC Conference explore and implement eSports,” he said. The school conducted a student survey that attracted more than 60 responses, and then held a meeting with more than half of those who had responded. “Our leadership team decided to move forward with this,” Edkins said. Players will have their own space—a room in the school’s Mercy Hall with 10 to 15 Xidax gaming computers to start. “They will also get some type of team togs, a shirt and hoodie, perhaps,” he added.
Misericordia will compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), participating in three realms—Hearthstone, League of Legends and Rocket League.
Established in 1924 as College Misericordia, Misericordia University serves nearly 3,000 students enrolled in 37 degree programs in three Academic Colleges: Arts and Sciences; Health Sciences & Education; and Business. MU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio
Ohio Northern University (ONU) has announced the launch of a new eSports program that the school says will continue “emphasis on offering students well-rounded, high-impact learning experiences that allow them to pursue both their professional and personal areas of interest.” Approximately 22 students will participate on two teams this fall, competing in games such as League of Legends and Overwatch “while pursuing their college ambitions in more than 70 areas of study.”
ONU Vice President for Enrollment Management Bill Eilola said, “we are always looking to add relevant co-curricular activities that extend the college experience beyond the classroom while preparing students for their professional careers by further developing skills that employer’s value, such as teamwork and leadership.” He went on to say that the school “recognized the growing popularity of eSports and wanted to provide that opportunity for ONU students.”
Scholarship opportunities will exist for incoming students who participate on ONU’s new eSports teams.
Ohio Northern University was founded as the Northwestern Ohio Normal School in 1871. The school serves more than 3,000 students from 50 states and 22 countries, enrolled in 70 programs of study. ONU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).