Esports is generating an incredible amount of buzz. As trailblazing schools and colleges are into their second, third or fourth spring seasons, others are still looking at how to bring esports to their institutions.
Interest and curiosity aren’t limited to one area. Influencers within Athletics, Academics, Campus Recreation, Student Services and Administration are eager to learn more about it. The simple recommendation is to jump in and immerse yourself in the subject.
Students are gaming every hour of the day, entering online and live tournaments. Many entering college were scholar gamers in high school. Don’t put them back on an individual island. Institutions and students can benefit from starting organized programs. While some of the press around the category is centered on prize money, major arenas selling out and professional opportunities, the real benefits for a majority of competitors are less public.
The advocacy around the category is simple. Employers are eager to work with team members who embrace and practice critical skills that can be developed through esports. The sports played are not selected simply because they are popular. The games are also great platforms to develop individual contributions to a team.
At the outset, teams may be faced with adversity. They will compete with schools who have been competing for years and against players who have been practicing together just as long.
Analyzing performance, adapting to best match-up with the competition and adjusting mid-competition is happening every day. Learning from losses and applying adjustments can be equally valuable. Organizations are continuously faced with this adversity.
As teams evolve, their strategic planning, practice habits, critical thinking and teamwork will develop. Leaders will emerge within the teams and help bring the best out of their peers. Organizational skills to help manage classroom work, practice and competition schedules become a necessity. Organizations view these skills as essential.
One of the largest benefits is students are no longer solely gaming in their apartments, dorms or homes. Esports programs bring them into an organized, supervised team setting. Coaches become critical influencers in students’ lives. Competitors will experience the extreme highs of winning, the lows after a crushing loss, and the preparation to grow and work your way into an influential role.
Students will work with others regardless of physical stature or gender, and will be networking and developing lifelong relationships along the way. Again, all of these attributes are critical to organizations.
Here’s some final advice: Perform a deep dive, talk to those who have blazed the trail, understand the commitment to make a program sustainable and then implement it right. Get started and “game on!”
Scott Dorn is an executive vice president for Spectrum Industries, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer, and has 25 years of experience working within the education technology market. For more information, visit spectrumfurniture.com.