You don’t have to play Vegas casino video games to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities that are part of the esports industry. The industry is looking for player talent but also for support personnel in the realm of game development, training, coaching and more.
One of the main focuses in esports development today involves finding talent to manage the teams, the leagues, the tournaments, the publicity and other business-related fields. Many universities have recognized the importance that esports is starting to play in the world economy. They are introducing university-level BA and MA programs to prepare professionals to enter the field of esports from a business perspective.
These programs teach students how to promote events, market through digital means, build teams, host events, create business plans and more. The esports management degrees take into account the esports culture, the game genres that make up the industry and the typical esports fan base and audiences.
The programs were set up because so much of the esports industry is unique. eSports doesn’t easily fall into models of other businesses. Since so many aspects of the esports business is so individual, it has been determined by many universities and colleges that studies in esports should be individual.
They need to understand league, team and tournament management, accounting, communications, management of special events, industry hardware and software, analytics, computer networking and team management business models.
They must also have a firm grasp of the tournament culture as well as the importance of the live streaming sessions that help esports athletes build their fan bases and draw attention to their tournament play.
There are even schools that have esports Masters Degrees which delve into the esports landscape, industry shifts and leadership skills more intensely.
Each university or college has its own entry requirements. Bachelor degree requirements generally include a strong high school academic record and good GCSE scores. Students can expect a program that combines scheduled classes, assessment activity and independent study.
Since many students go into an esports program after having spent several years in the work world, and many continue to work throughout their studies, the courses are generally geared to a population that will attend classes in the evenings and will work through the program with only one or two classes being taken every semester.
Some of the better-known esports degree programs in the United States include:
George Mason University
George Mason University offers students the opportunity to minor in esports business management with a focus on sports management and game design. The minor is added as an addition to a major in Business Management (or any other degree). Courses for the Sport and Computer Game Design Minor are offered jointly with the Computer Game Design program with the goal of providing students with an overview of the sport management academic discipline, computer game design and a foundational overview of the sports industry.
Some of the courses include Sport Venues and Events, Game Design Studio, Computer Game Platform Analysis, Psychology of Sport, Online and Mobile Gaming, Sport Marketing and Sales and Governance and Policy in Sport Organizations.
In addition, the university promotes video gaming and competition through intercollegiate, social and tournament play. Tournaments and social events are organized to bring gamers together.
Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia
Shenandoah University is America’s first university to offer a multi-track esports major. Shenandoah fields its own esports team that competes through the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). As part of their focus on the esports industry, Shenandoah offers several courses of study including a Bachelor degree program in in Esports with an Esports Management Track which involves 45 credit hours of study in the esports major and 18 hours in the management track. Additional tracks are also offered including an Esports Media and Communication Track which is part of the Bachelors program, an Esports Management Minor and a minor and a certificate in Esports Performance Studies.
Students are encouraged to work in esports businesses through international experiences, in conjunction with video game companies and through internships with major esports teams and leagues. Students get hands-on experiences with Shenandoah’s varsity esports teams and with industry executives working on event marketing, management and administration. The programs are set to launch this fall.
Caldwell University in Caldwell NJ is offering a Bachelors Degree in Esports Management within its School of Business and Computer Science. The program aims to prepare students for careers in esports marketing, event planning, finance, entertainment and operations. The degree program comes after the successful launch of an elective in esports as part of the Business School’s Sport Management Major.
The program consists of both classroom study and internships where student will gain hands-on experience in the various esports sectors. Some of the electives include Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management, Public Relations and Digital Marketing. The program will parallel Caldwell’s esports program in which it will field Overwatch and League of Legends teams.
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Ohio State is one of the largest universities to offer an esports program. Due to its size, the university has been able to create an interdisciplinary curriculum that spans five of its colleges in a focus on game studies and esports. Undergraduate and graduate studies will be offered along with an elective course in esports content production and online certification programs for specialized credentials.
Areas of study involve esports management, game design, game art and production, programming, health and rehabilitation and the business of games.
University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
The University of California Irvine offers students the opportunity to add the Esports Management Specialized Studies Certificate to their BA in Business Administration, Master in Business Administration or other degree through the University’s School of Continuing Education.
The program is available online and consists of nine credits including Overview of Esports, Esports Project Management: Live Events and Effective Communication in Esports. The goal of the program is to:
- Enable students to speak knowledgeably about esports history.
- Community and business, develop effective communications among fans and decision makers within the esports industry.
- Apply tools and project management skills to initiate, plan, execute, and carry out an esports live event.
- Develop processes that encourage growth/improvement in the esports industry.
- Create social media content that facilitates esports fan interaction.
Students can complete the Esports Management Specialized Studies Certificate within five months.