Wilmington College is offering a minor in Esports management starting this fall as the booming industry approaches an audience of a billion globally with revenues of more than $1.5 billion.
Electronic sports — Esports — feature teams competing in organized, multi-player video games. Competitions are often staged virtually so teams from around the country and the world can compete in the same events without facing imposing logistics and incurring travel expenses.
The popularity of Esports lends itself to the more and more technology-driven society of today. Esports is especially inclusive and accommodates persons with physical disabilities, while also providing competitors with many of the benefits of traditional, athletics-oriented sports: teamwork, camaraderie, self-motivation, work ethic, goal-setting and a shared experience.
Dr. Jimmy Mattern, assistant professor of sport management, possesses a long-time interest in eSports and his Introduction to Esports Management course has been in such demand that he promoted the minor as an opportunity to enhance the knowledge, skills and marketability of WC students.
“Due to the rapid growth in Esports, major corporations are now looking to become part of this evolving global industry, thereby growing the reach of Esports even further and faster,” he said. Indeed, Nike launched its first eSports ad in 2020 and Coca-Cola announced a multi-year partnership with video games developer Riot Games earlier this year. Also, Puma partnered with a German eSports organization and launched its gaming and eSports apparel collection.
Mattern said impressive employment opportunities exist in the management of live-streaming competitions, sales and partnerships, production crews and industry-related businesses. Managers work with game designers and developers, animators, artists, game testers and professional gamers, as well as staging gaming competitions.
He added that Esports managers can command close to six-figure salaries.
WC’s minor is designed to be completed in four semesters and is open to students in all majors however, those majoring in WC’s popular sport management area would only need to take three additional courses to earn the minor. The minor features four, four-credit hour courses and three, two-credit hour courses.
Adam Lohrey, senior director of admission, is thrilled with the new academic offering, as he said the establishment of Esports in high schools has “exploded” during the past two years. “Most high schools have eSports teams or clubs, so the demand is there for academic and competition offerings on the college level.”
Lohrey said adding an Esports management minor to a degree in teacher education degree might also make graduates more marketable, as each of those high school teams requires coaches and/or advisers.
The College is considering hosting an Esports club or team that would compete on an intercollegiate level.