Catawba College to Add Esports in 2018-2019 Academic Year
June 26, 2018
Catawba College will be adding an esports program to its athletics offerings during the 2018-2019 academic year. The College is currently evaluating candidates for its Coordinator of Esports position that will be a part of the Office of Student Affairs, and finalizing the location and equipment for its esports gaming lab.
With the addition of the esports program, Catawba will join over 60 other colleges and universities offering the program that has become the world’s fastest-growing spectator sport.
It is estimated that by 2019 nearly 430 million people worldwide will tune in to watch esports competitors play in organized, multiplayer video games. The popularity of esports is tied to the accessibility of online streaming media platforms like Twitch.tv and YouTube.
Esports tournaments like the League of Legends World Championship, The International and the Intel Extreme Masters provide live broadcasts of competition and prize money, with play often occurring in venues like Madison Square Garden that are regularly sold out. In response to the popularity of esports, ESPN has broadened its sports coverage to include reporting on esports competitors and competitions. According to PBS.org, the esports industry is on target to gross nearly $1 billion by the end of 2018.
“The addition of esports allows us to meet our students where their interests are,” explained Jared Tice, Catawba College’s Dean of Students. “Esports gives Catawba another pathway for student recruitment and provides our current and future student-athletes with a new and exciting intercollegiate sport.”
Tice said Catawba’s esports program has the potential to seamlessly thread together the academic, social, and intercollegiate aspects of campus. “Esports Tournaments featuring Catawba students as competitors will become an on-campus spectator event with large screens broadcasting the game action while fellow students watch and cheer. Students in our Communication Department can collaborate with the Catawba esports team and its coordinator to record and broadcast the event on the social media channel, Twitch, and to stream play to large screens on campus. Communication students may also serve as play by play commentators for on-campus esports competition, while our Marketing students may help promote the Catawba esports team. Our Sport Management or Business Administration students can gain insights and even potential careers in establishing and managing a winning esports team.”
“In short, esports provides Catawba with a new and distinctive way to holistically engage our students across campus. It will be exciting to see the potential connections and impact evolve.”
Catawba’s new esports Coordinator will be charged with developing schematics for an esports lab, establishing an esports team from among Catawba’s current students during the coming academic year, recruiting students to play on Catawba’s esports team in the 2019-2020 academic year and beyond, and assisting with student life programming and activities.