Why Universities are Investing in Esports Programmes


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In recent years, a growing number of universities in the United States and around the world have started embracing Esports. In fact, it’s quickly become one of the most popular collegiate sports. The question being asked by many is, why are universities investing so much money in Esports programs? Find out more right here.

What are Esports?

Esports is a term given to electronic sports – a form of competition that involves players competing against one another in a video game. Most organised Esports events around the world today are regulated multiplayer tournaments that involve either singles playing against each other, or teams of players competing against other Esports teams to win trophies and cash prizes. It’s classed as a spectator sport, and the competitors that take part in Esports tournaments are generally professional gamers. However, Esports is also full of amateurs. 

How lucrative is the Esports industry?

According to recent reports, the Esports industry is now a billion-dollar industry, and it’s forecast to continue growing over the coming years. The global Esports market was valued at more than US$1.38 billion, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down as the sport becomes more popular in most countries around the world. In 2025, it’s expected to be worth more than US$1.86 billion, and the two largest Esports markets in terms of revenue generated are the North American and Asian markets.

How does the Esports industry generate so much revenue?

As is the case with most major sports, a large chunk of the revenue is generated by sponsorship deals and advertising within the sport. Television/streaming media rights also make up a large part of the revenue. According to reports, more than 530 million viewers tuned into various channels to watch major Esports events last year. A great deal of revenue is also made by online sports betting companies that have Esports betting markets available for these events.

Which types of video games are generally played at Esports events?

Some of the most popular Esports franchises out there today, which professional gamers compete in, spectators watch, and bettors place wagers on, include the following:

  • League of Legends
  • Dota 2
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
  • Call of Duty
  • Rainbow 6

Some of the other popular single-player and MMO games that are also played at a competitive level in the world of Esports are Overwatch 2, PUBG, StarCraft, Valorant, Super Smash Bros., and Street Fighter, to name just a few.

What are some of the major Esports events to keep an eye out for?

Some of the major Esports tournaments, competitions, and leagues out there today include the CCT North Europe Series, the CCT South Europe Series, the Elisa Invitational, the ESL Masters Spain, the ESL Polish Championship, the Gamers Club Liga Serie A, the Intel Extreme Masters, the LPL Pro League, and the WePlay Academy League. There’s also the Call of Duty League, The International, the Overwatch League (OWL), the World Championship, the Global Championship, and the EU League, to name just a handful.

What are some of the most successful Esports teams in the world?

The most successful Esports teams in the world are the teams/players that have won the most events and the most prize money. At the time of writing, the single most successful Esports team in the world is Team Liquid. They have earned more than $40,287,750.00 from more than 2,300 tournaments. Close behind them is team OG, who have earned around $36,888,210 from just over 140 tournaments. Other top earners include:

  • Evil Geniuses – approximately $26,000,000.00
  • Team Spirit – approximately $21,200,000.00
  • Natus Vincere – approximately $18,302,000.00

Some of the other top-performing Esports teams that many of you may already be familiar with by now are Virtus.pro, Fnatic, Paris Saint-Germain Esports, Team Secret, Vici Gaming, Invictus Gaming, Newbee, FaZe Clan, LGD Gaming, T1, Cloud9, G2 Sports, and OpTic Gaming.

Why are universities investing heavily in Esports programmes?

One of the main reasons why a growing number of universities, especially the smaller private universities, are investing heavily in Esports is the ROI (Return on Investment). In short, it’s all about money. As mentioned, there’s lots of money to be made by the most successful teams. There are currently more than 100 Esports university programmes up and running in the US, two of which can be found at the University of Arizona and Pace University.

Collegiate Esports is currently experiencing rapid growth within the scholarship offerings from schools. The huge investment in Esports programmes has enabled participating universities to recruit more students and have better student retention. It has also led to an expansion in various other areas. For example, universities can use this new revenue to grow their programmes further, develop Esports arenas, host major Esports events, generate even more revenue, and much more.

About the Author

Bernadine Racoma is the Content Manager of WorkSmartr.com. Her long experience in an international development institution and extensive travels have provided her with a wealth of knowledge and insights to cultural diversity. She writes to inform, engage, and share the idea of the Internet being a useful platform for communicating, knowledge sharing, educating, and entertaining.