Even though classes are just winding down for the 2020-2021 school year, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy your summer, just keep preparation plans in mind before it gets too late!

One thing that higher education institutions should definitely include in their 2021-2022 plans is esports. Whether that means introducing an esports program for the first time or bolstering an existing one, Esports has transformed significantly since the start of 2020 and can be a valuable tool for attracting and engaging students.

How did Esports change because of the pandemic?

Like almost all aspects of life, esports changed drastically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But unlike most things, esports shined during this time.

According to NewZoo’s 2021 Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report, the esports industry saw the following changes throughout the past year and a half:

  • A year-over-year growth of 8.7% from 2020 to 2021, bringing the audience of esports enthusiasts to 474 million.
  • Esports revenue is projected at $1.1 billion for 2021, a 14.5% increase from the previous year.
  • Live streaming audience for games saw a 10% increase from 2020 to 2021, projected at 728.8 million by the end of 2021.
  • Esports is predicted to continue growing, with estimations that the audience will reach 577.2 million by 2024.

Esports saw such a significant boom during this time because it is virtual and socially distant by nature, yet still offers a team environment and competitive play.

Are those changes here to stay?

While growth rate is predicted to shrink slightly for 2021 into 2022 because of COVID restrictions lifting, esports has cultivated a loyal fanbase and captured the attention of gamers around the world — that’s not likely to change any time soon.

The number of local and worldwide esports competitions held each year is steadily rising, which creates a great opportunity for colleges and universities. Having a reputable esports program will help attract and retain students while giving them a great avenue for meeting friends with similar interests. Their participation in a collegiate esports program could even result in a fruitful career, with tournament prize pools as high as $34 million.

How schools can gear up for esports this upcoming school year

It’s not too late for higher education institutions to put the systems in place that they’ll need for an esports program for next school year. IVCi’s Engage program allows you to customize your esports program from furniture, to AV setup and gaming technology, to technical support.

The subscription-based program provides hardware and software for academic environments with a step-by-step approach that ensures all goals are met. As a full-service technology partner, IVCi can handle all of the tech items so your school can focus on growing its program through recruitment and coaching.

We encourage schools to act fast, so their esports program can be up and running this fall. Learn more and get started here.

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