Colleges have been in session for a few weeks now, and even at schools with students physically back on campus, some are missing athletics. The Big 10 cancelled fall football, and it may not be back this year. But that hasn’t stopped some forms of campus competition — there’s still esports.
“A lot of the esports activity that we have been hosting in person can also take place entirely online without impacting pretty much any of the operations,” said Michael Fay, who directs Rutgers University’s esports center.
The school built that center last year, featuring 60 state-of-the-art gaming PCs. Fay said it also boasts a “broadcast studio in the back where we broadcast all of our competitions. And then it also features a competitive lounge where the teams can review their game play and discuss strategy.”
Rutgers’ center never opened, because of the pandemic. That might be the least of their financial problems right now: The school could lose tens of millions of dollars in potential revenue without a football season.
Michael Brooks, executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), says shifting focus to esports is not going to fill that massive financial hole: “There is revenue that’s out there. Is it anywhere close to what the bigger schools with basketball, football are seeing? The answer is no. It’s not there. It’s not even close. We’re still trying