Market Overview

The Age Of Virtual Athletes: Esports On Campus

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The Age Of Virtual Athletes: Esports On Campus

With college tuition rates at their highest in history, an abundance of students are working toward both athletic and academic scholarships to help with the financial stress of obtaining a degree.

Traditionally, athletic scholarships are offered to athletes talented in sports like football, basketball and volleyball.

In 2018, an expertise in video games may prove just as beneficial.

What Happened

In 2017, 17 U.S. colleges had varsity esports programs, according to a Starters blog post. 

Some of the schools include Columbia College, Robert Morris University, Maryville University, Southwestern College and the University of California, Irvine.

Companies like Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) and Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) are beginning to make the push into esports and have supplemented the rise of the Overwatch League, the Tespa Collegiate Series and the Collegiate Star League.

Why It’s Important

On Benzinga’s PreMarket Prep show, the hosts discussed the rise of gaming in today’s culture and the push from big companies.

Benzinga’s Dennis Dick sees potential in the rise of esports.

“There is growth here and I think the esports thing is for real. I do believe there are going to be high school teams and EA is going to be a big player in all of that.”

Co-host Spencer Israel said there's "a lot of money" in the field. 

“Just look at Take-Two — their game launch made $725 million in the first three days of sales. There is a fine line here with EA though, as the company took a lot of heat for forcing people to pay too much within the game.”

Dick highlighted the prominence of the gaming community and its effect on younger generations.

“Kids were into video games when I was a kid, but it’s on a new level now. Arenas are filled with people watching esports.”

What’s Next

The push for esports does not end with collegiate athletics: Benzinga reported in August that an International Olympic Committee forum and the Global Association of International Sports Federations is looking at whether to integrate esports into the Olympics. 

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Photo by Dustin Blitchok. 

 

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Posted-In: Collegiate Star League Dennis Dick eSports Overwatch League PreMarket Prep StartersSports General Best of Benzinga