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Published: March 4, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Esports courses continue to propagate into higher education institutions
  • The university will build on an already established esports community of over 1 700 members
  • It plans to give students the opportunity to make a career in the growing esports industry

UArizona is yet another US higher educational institution that is launching a dedicated esports program, fielding a team for competitive video gaming.

UArizona Launches Esports Program

As esports becomes more popular, universities are developing programs to help students learn the ins and outs of a growing multibillion-dollar industry. The University of Arizona is yet another institution doing this. It recently unveiled a dedicated esports program that aims to build on the university’s already established community of esports enthusiasts.

The University of Arizona will field the state’s first esports team for a public university, with its leaders expecting competition from across the nation and other universities to begin sometime in the fall. The institution plans to build on an already existing community of more than 1,700 esports enthusiasts at the university. It already has an esports and gaming campus club that has about 100 tournament players across 14 teams for different video games, said club president Liam Koenneker, one of the involved in creating the program.

Why Is UArizona Launching This Program?

When one looks at the world’s bigger picture, one doesn’t have to look too far to see why universities would want to establish esports programs. Walter Ries, the program’s interim director and a principal information technology manager for University Information Technology Services, had some insight into the matter.

“A lot of the traditional sports programs were being canceled due to physical contact during the pandemic,” he said. “In many sports, teams have to get on the same field, whereas esports are virtual, so they could still go on, even during COVID.”

With a multibillion-dollar industry in the making, it’s no surprise educational institutions are pouring millions into establishing new esports programs. For example, just last month NC State University announced it will build a state-of-the-art esports arena thanks to a $16M Grant

UArizona also likes to capitalize on the trend. “Not only are esports part of an established and growing industry, like traditional sports esports provide avenues to build community, develop critical skills and gain valuable experiences these students will draw upon for the rest of their lives,” said the University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “I am excited to see this program get off the ground and proud of the student leaders who have helped create it.”

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