October 28, 2019
Mars Hill University will add esports to its lineup of sports teams. Athletics director Rick Baker says the varsity team will begin competition in the fall of 2020 with an expected roster of 12 student-athletes. Esports is short for “electronic sports” and involves competitive multiplayer video gaming.
“Esports is one of the fastest growing sports in the country,” says Baker. “We are extremely excited about starting a new eSports program at Mars Hill. It has a very large fan base and adding esports will offer our students another popular engagement opportunity.”
The university is currently engaged in a search for a head coach for the esports team and is creating a competition-level computer lab in Wren Student Union. Mars Hill’s esports team will compete against colleges and universities of all sizes in games such as “League of Legends.” Baker says the head coach will determine other games in which the university will compete.
Collegiate esports league operator Tespa has more than 270 chapters at schools in the United States and Canada, and says more than 1,350 schools have competed in its tournaments. NACE, the National Association of Collegiate eSports, has 153 varsity esports programs as members. Market analytics firm Newzoo estimated the 2018 global esports audience at more than 380 million and points to the development of collegiate gaming as one of the top factors in the esports industry’s growth.