Esports grew from 335 million viewers in 2017 to 454 million viewers in 2019, but it has been a relatively new sport for colleges and university and for college students. The National Association of Collegiate Esports was officially formed in 2016 with just seven collegiate members and has grown to more than 170 members across the country.
Establishing varsity esports at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis provides a unique opportunity for student-athletes to build soft skills such as communication and listening skills, critical thinking, complex problem-solving and empathetic collaboration. As a University focused on preparing students for health professions careers, providing opportunities that build these skills is central to our academic and cocurricular missions.
Varsity esports also gives UHSP a competitive edge in attracting new students looking for college-sponsored opportunities to be involved in an exciting sport they love. To leverage esports as a recruitment opportunity, developing a premier esports facility was critical.
UHSP’s new esports arena includes:
• A gaming arena with 30 dedicated computers
• An exhibition area with large screen televisions for playing console games
• Practice rooms
• Office space
• Vending machines
In the custom-built esports arena, students can watch games in-person or even help the team practice by playing against them during training sessions.
At UHSP, our esports program is a direct reflection of the University’s efforts to expand its health care-focused academic programs. With our new name and brand identity, esports is another example of how we are finding innovative ways to leverage our strengths to meet the changing needs of students, patients and the broader health care industry.