Competitive gaming—electronic sports played on computers and consoles—is a huge and growing interest among Americans. In 2018, two-thirds of people over the age of 13 claimed to be gamers, according to Nielsen.
From coast to coast, colleges of every size are launching teams and building eSport arenas, and the University of Saint Mary will join the competition in Spring 2019.
Saint Mary is only the third college in Kansas—and currently, it’s the only school on the Kansas side of the KC metro area—to offer a varsity eSports program and eSports scholarships. The team will compete in several games (League of Legends, Fortnite, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, among others) sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate eSports in affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. As for where the team will play—a newly constructed eSports arena in Mead Hall is in the works.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build a brand new program at Saint Mary. The growing popularity of eSports can’t be understated, and I’m looking forward to helping some great players find a place to showcase and hone their abilities while earning a college education at a highly-regarded university.” – Drew Boehm, Head eSports Coach
Drew Boehm, who helped develop a competitive eSports organization at his alma mater, Texas Christian University, and has been ranked in the top one percent of players in several popular competitive eSports, will helm USM’s team.