Paul Smith’s College has accepted a $100,000 gift to fund the creation of an on-campus training and competition space for Esports, featuring “state-of-the-art gaming equipment and spectator seating.”
The gift comes from Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family and the facility will be named “The Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family Esports Lab.” It’s expected to serve as home field for the college’s esports club, which quickly brought on 70 members since its formation this spring. On-campus tournaments are expected to be hosted in the space.
Globally, Esports participation and viewership is surging. According to research firm Newzoo, with an audience size of 450 million and growing, the Esports market is expected to generate $1.1 billion by the end of this year and $1.8 billion in 2022. Recent studies put the high end of female participation at about 30%.
Intel will host an Olympics-sanctioned Esports tournament in 2020 in Tokyo and there is expected to be a demonstration event at the 2024 Paris Games, but Olympic official inclusion of the sport remains elusive.
Paul Smith’s College is a registered member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), which announced this September that its Esports membership more than doubled in size to 57 colleges. The college is expected to field teams for Overwatch, League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Rocket League, Fortnite, FIFA 2019 and Madden 2019 video games. Paul Smith’s is anticipating hosting an Esports tournament as part of the 2020 Empire State Winter Games.
College officials say Esports fall within a broader emphasis on student athletics. Paul Smith’s launched a women’s ice hockey team in 2018 and is embarking on development of a Nordic ski center at the Paul Smith’s VIC.
Photo of Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family awarding Paul Smith’s College $100,000 for Esports lab provided.