In 2023, you may see the Northwest Vista College esports student club “Vista Gamers” playing competitively.
Since the start of the semester, the new student club has seen a large influx of students joining. At the first Open Play event earlier in the semester, over 60 students attended.
The National Association of Collegiate Esports, or NACE, is the largest collegiate esports organization in North America and facilitates competitions for nearly 14,000 students from almost 700 colleges. Since its establishment in the early 2000s, professional and club esports have seen rapid growth in both participation and viewership.
Competitive video gaming has quickly risen to the ranks of “real sports,” which includes big-name sponsors, competitive pro leagues, and college competitions. In 2017, there were more global viewers than in the 2016 NFL regular season. As of 2021, the esports market is valued at over $1 billion.
The number of colleges offering esports scholarships is growing rapidly. In 2014, Robert Morris University was the first to provide an esports scholarship. Today, large schools like the University of Utah and the University of California-Irvine offer scholarships. They have high-profile esports programs modeled after traditional collegiate sports teams – with post-game meals, team jerseys, and other perks.
A recent student article from Oakland University in Michigan said their esports program helps with marketing, recruitment, and retention.
“You reach many students that you would never reach — students who’ve never heard of Oakland University — through college esports,” said OU esports head coach Carl Leone in the article.
Esports is also a fast-growing industry that offers many job opportunities beyond being a pro player. These include careers in production, programming, streaming, management of esports teams, game development, graphic design, marketing, video production, and even STEM fields.
NVC’s Daniel Johnson, who oversees Recreation Sports, said the NVC club and his team are planning esports tournaments for the spring to be held monthly at Tech Port (Port San Antonio).
NVC’s esports club accepts gamers of all types and levels, from brand-new players to seasoned veterans. The club’s primary goal is to become an environment for people to come and hang out, make friends and play video games together.