Esports isn't the "next big thing," it's the current big thing. And for very important reasons, including student recruiting and retaining, preparing for the job market of tomorrow, blending in school and online experiences, and overall enrichment of the student experience.
With 380 million people watching esports and 90% of students between the 13-17 playing video games it clear why both higher education and K-12 schools are implementing programs. Here are some reasons why you need an Esports program:
By offering esports as an extracurricular activity, schools reach students who often are otherwise disengaged from the school community. Esports in schools can transport these kids from the solitary world of digital gaming into the common space of the school computer lab or library commons. These otherwise uninvolved students join the ranks of their successfully involved peers: More likely to be engaged during classes. More likely to graduate. More likely to aspire to higher education.
One of the big reasons many schools are looking into Esports is because of the low startup cost. The average cost to start a program is only $40,000. Often times a school can leverage their IT budget to help implement a Esports program. An average team might consist of 30 players, but an entry level program can start with as few as 6 seats. Although the gaming computers will cost about $2,000, the live streaming accessories, such as webcams and headsets, are relatively inexpensive. Not all school’s are set up to have a dedicated space for Esports so it is important that the classroom can be scheduled for traditional class offerings during the week and quickly convert to a computer lab arena on game-day.
Enhances STEM Education
This Esports league doesn't just give a quick nod to skills such as hand-eye coordination or team play; it has been carefully constructed with an academic framework incorporating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In fact, 62% of players on collegiate teams are STEM majors. Students involved in esports are a natural fit for careers in STEM, which are projected to offer some of the best employment opportunities for today’s students. Of the 100 jobs defined as STEM-related by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 have wages above the national average. Growth in STEM employment is projected to be better-than-average.
If all of this doesn’t convince you then I will leave you with these words, you should care about Esports because your students care about Esports and that’s really what it’s all about.