Around the world, eSports is booming; along with an interest from college athletic directors in the United States. While each has its own individual needs, here are ten of the many reasons why athletic departments should embrace eSports no matter which NCAA Division they call home.
1. Overall, eSports is booming. By 2020, global revenues should be $1.5 billion with 600 million fans. The number of colleges with eSports programs is increasing, too.
2. This is a high margin sport, when done right. Returns reported are as high as nine-to-one. With the significant majority of FBS programs losing money, eSports could provide a nice positive cash flow.
3. There is no Nick Saban coaching in eSports. The staffs are much smaller, too. Both the size and compensation for staffs are lower for eSports when it comes to coaching (hence the nine-to-one return).
4. Along with coaching costs, associated expenses are lower, too. There is no need for an expensive stadium. It is cheaper to feed a 150-pound eSports player than a 350-pound lineman. Insurance will be lower, too, as the sport does not result in injuries. Concussions are not a worry, either. Lawsuits are a long way off in eSports, too.
5. These teams are great for Title IX compliance. Requirements here are easier to meet with if your department were to embrace eSports. There is no reason an entire eSports team cannot be female. It is in the future, but it is certainly feasible.
6. Foreign students are into eSports in a big way. Most of the fans globally are in Asia. There are one million foreign students going to college in the United States. A vibrant eSports program could turn foreign students into active fans and future donors for American schools.
7. There are already “Digital Deone Sanders” who play both eSports and others. The eSports coach at Trine University played football for the school, for example. This will increase along with the spread of eSports. This stretches dollars for athletic programs in many ways.
8. Here is a way to replicate the success of VCU or Gonzaga, which sell out basketball games at a school with no football team. A savvy athletic director will embrace eSports and develop the program to be the draw at the school.
9. An eSports program is an excellent way for synergistic relations with many academic departments that other sports simply cannot foster. Computer, math, engineering, and others can gain from working with an eSports team. This engenders support for the athletic department from a broader base in the rest of the college community.
10. Athletic directors need to embrace all new revenue streams when practical as this cash flow reflects the changing society in which college sports must operate successfully to flourish. This is certainly the case with eSports. Just the very exercise is useful for continually improving the athletic department by having it constantly evolve to comport with the environment around it. This is critical for the professional development of the athletic director, too, as any headhunter will attest.