eSports and the Education Market

Esports are coming to the education market. To be specific, they are trickling chiefly to the secondary level and higher education landscapes. The first sprouts appear as student clubs and other informal extra-curricular gatherings.

Schools and universities featuring game design programs are often the first to come on board. These then grow into interschool or intervarsity teams, entering a much more competitive stage. Interleague competition then expands into national and international tournaments, with students vying against the very best.

This new ed market development represents a budding platform for the display industry, no doubt. That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed Matthew Brennesholtz’s Display Daily article, “Esports, a Display Lover’s Paradise” earlier this month. According to Brennesholtz,

“Esports are a very display-centric industry, including desktop displays for the players; larger viewing monitors to allow both the program directors and the audience to follow the action; and large, venue-sized LED displays.”

In the first article of his series, Brennesholtz zeroed in on defining esports and unpacking “the Pro-AV requirements for esport venues.” Esports in education at first, however, play out in much more dispersed or sprawling conditions—ranging from individual schools or departments to built-as-needed competition venues. Many of these makeshift battle arenas are simply pulled together from the local shared resources of participating schools or universities. Later, as this phemonenon continues to grow popular, national and international competitions will be increasingly be held in professionally outfitted venues.

So, to understand esport display sales opportunities in education, we must realize that the genesis of the sale begins in the classroom, lab or game design department. At the smallest or micro level of this phenomenon, you will find the individual esport gamer’s station. At the recent 2019 TCEA educational technology conference in San Antonio, I noticed that the integrator CDW-G was ready to enter the esports market with a solid ecosystem, an offering pictured below:

The CDW G eSports Station was featured at the 2019 TCEA conference, and is designed for classroom use.

Certainly, growth is increasingly likely as esports are being considered as a demonstration sport for the 2024 Olympics. And with the growing number of universities now stepping up to the plate with esport scholarships, the meme will only grow stouter. But in education we need to remember that it all begins with the individual esport ‘athlete’—at the workstation level. –Len Scrogan