Can Esports Become the Future of College Athletics?

Esports is a thriving industry, one that is estimated to earn $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2019. Although traditional sports are very much so still a thing as you can even now bet on your favorite games and matches with the Betfred new customer offer, the newest craze of e-gaming is taking everyone by storm.

But an interesting example emerges with the Harrisburg University and their star athlete Alex Carrell. To make things completely clear, Alex is neither on the basketball team, the football team nor even on the lacrosse team. He is an e-athlete and competes in Hearthstone and proudly wears the Harrisburg black and orange colors on his back.

Oh, and by the way, he is there on a full scholarship.

How did Alex Get to Harrisburg?

Alex spent his first two years of college at Central Washington. During his time there he was taking student loans to get by and was already in a tremendous amount of debt. At one point he saw a Reddit post where one university was offering a full-time Esports scholarship so he immediately decided to check it out.

He applied and went through a lengthily process where he had to prove the legitimacy of his high scores on Hearthstone and also needed to compete in a tournament to prove his skills. Eventually, he was accepted and is now one of the few people in the US who are going to college on a full-time Esports scholarship.

With the help of this scholarship, Alex was able to pay off most of his college loans and is now on route of clearing it all. As long as he keeps wearing the Harrisburg Storm colors and keeps competing in Esports.

The History of Harrisburg’s E-gaming

Harrisburg is not your typical college. It differs greatly in appearance compared to others found in the US. It was founded in 2001, but their Esports program is still very young as it was started in 2018.

Nevertheless, it has developed really nicely as they currently have 26 student-athletes enrolled that compete in Overwatch, League of Legends, and, of course, Hearthstone. They have an experienced coaching staff which comprises of former competitive players that run the program.

In spring 2018, Harrisburg went on a 33-0 run in Overwatch varsity league to win the National Championship which was streamed on ESPN live.

Oh, and by the way, this is the only sports program that they have. No traditional sports are available.

What Does This Mean of the Future?

This is a revolutionary move that Harrisburg has pulled. Esports is becoming a major sport in the world and is shaping up to be a billion-dollar industry. Getting on the hype train early is a smart thing to do. Currently, there are 128 colleges around the country that have a varsity Esports program.

This does not have to mean the decline of traditional sports all-together, but it is a sign that times are changing. A modern world does demand changes and we might be heading towards a future where there is going to be a place for everyone, no matter if you are a football player or an Esports athlete.