Students are (collectively) earning millions in scholarships to play varsity esports in college. I'm Alex McNeil, co-builder of the first directory/resource hub for varsity esports programs & scholarships. AMA about the growth of collegiate es...
Tl;dr: Ask me anything about collegiate esports in the US!
Hi Reddit, I'm Alex, the co-founder of Looking for Group, the first directory of collegiate esports programs and scholarships in the US! We launched last week with over 190 programs listed on our site. Next week, we're adding over $250k in esports-specific scholarship opportunities, and we're just getting started.
I'm here to answer your questions about the rampant growth of collegiate esports in colleges and universities across the country.
For some background, the popularity of collegiate esports has grown exponentially since COVID-19. With many traditional sports on hold and students stuck at home, athletics departments across the country have been turning to esports as a way to bridge the gap. Tons of schools are committing to full-blown varsity esports programs, including massive schools like UC Irvine, University of Utah, and Miami University.
This makes sense, when you think about it. According to Pew, 97% of kids between the ages of 12-17 play video games. Once higher ed organizations started to take that fact seriously, it's been a mad flight to roll out programs.
We got our start in collegiate esports after building a recreational esports program at my business partner's alma mater. That led us to start working with other schools that were trying to build programs of their own.
We had the germ of the idea for Looking for Group after realizing how little accessible, public information there was about collegiate esports for students. (Basically, for a student to learn about a program, they would have to have it already in mind and crawl around on the school's website scrounging for info.)
We knew a lot of the program directors and thought, "Hey! We could get this information together all in one place."
Six months after that initial thought, we released Looking for Group with a large chunk of all the varsity collegiate programs listed on the site, and more joining every day. It's been a crazy/fun experience to launch this resource and try to build a piece of important infrastructure in an emerging field.
So without further ado, I'm here to answer questions. AMA about:
- Collegiate esports in general
- What kind of students collegiate esports programs look for
- How students can find scholarship $ to play video games in college.
- The most popular title in collegiate esports (psst: it's not what you might guess).
- The factors driving the adoption of collegiate esports.
- What it's like to build collegiate esports programs
- Or anything else!