Kristian Dowling, Getty Images
Kristian Dowling, Getty Images

If you ask most people what the fastest growing college sport is, they will probably say soccer, basketball, football or baseball. Well the answer according to some peopIe is “eSports”.

You ask what are eSports? Well, eSports, also known as electronic sports, are a form of competition playing video games. There are amateur competitive video games, collegiate games and professional games or pro gaming where players and teams are officiated by a third party (referee).

eSports are very popular in Asia, with North America and Europe seeing an increase as well. Some estimates show some 28 million eSports fans are out there and that number is growing by 21 percent a year. One of the larger sites is TWITCH with 55 million users. Advertisers are seeing the value of eSports as well as companies like Coke, Nissan, Logitech and Red Bull are now sponsors for eSports events.

If you think it’s not happening here, think again. Culver Stockton College recently started up their eSports program and has actively recruited players with scholarships. The program will actually fall under the I.T. (Internet Technology) Department and not the Sports Department. Culver has an eSports area on campus.

Recently Culver-Stockton College hired Chris Yingling as the coach of the school’s eSports teams. Yingling, a native of Warsaw, Indiana, earned a Bachelor's Degree in public relations at Taylor University in 2016 and a Master's Degree in Sports Administration from Ball State University in 2018.

The eSports coach has the primary responsibility of instructing students on eSports and providing leadership in player development, sportsmanship, integrity and character development. Games that the C-SC eSports teams play include Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League and CS:GO.

In October of 2018, Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri announced it too was starting up an eSports program at their school. One obvious advantage for schools doing eSports is to eliminate travel expenses. Another is additional enrollment opportunities for potential players.

At some locations, big screens are set up as one school plays against another and fans go to watch the screen and root on their player or players. The addition of eSports is just one more choice to the ever changing technology playing field.

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