It has the feel of a sporting event. The bleachers were full.

Groups of people interacting towards the stage as if a weigh-in for a Vegas bout was about to unfold. There was a sense of competition in the air as the crowd enter the back half of the North Hall at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to watch a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competition.  

The rise of Esports has been well-documented for the past few years but now the collegiate scene is taking ahold of an untapped area to engage with students. 

“College Esports is popular because it includes all niches and cliques of students,” said Seth Grabow, head coach of Esports at Bethany. “I think that competitiveness is something that a lot of people bond over, take friendship in that they are doing this on a high-level.” 

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Just how big is collegiate Esports? 

“The collegiate scene is solidifying. Last year, there were about 80 schools in NACE, this year 130, and they are expecting 500 over the next five years which would make it bigger than division one football,” said Lucas Fricke, director of Esports at BLC. “It’s the next big thing. It’s the culmination of competition and technology coming together.” 

You may or may not have heard of Esports but rest assured, you will very soon. It’s a trend that is already here and colleges are getting on board at a rapid pace.