Northwood University in Midland announced Monday that it will be the first university in Michigan to offer a degree in esports (electronic sports) management starting in fall 2020.
After an in-depth examination of esports events and facilities, Northwood has developed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in esports management. Students will examine in-depth topics relating to the finance, marketing, branding, and management of the esports industry.
“As a university rooted in free enterprise, we are responding to market demands by producing graduates who are ready to lead in this billion-dollar industry,” says Kent MacDonald, president of Northwood.
According to Newzoo Analytics, gaming is a $135 billion industry and esports alone is estimated to reach $1.6 billion by 2021. Reinforcing theimpact esports has had on the gaming industry, this audience reached 395 million viewers in 2018 and a study by Deloitte, in collaboration with The Esports Observer, states $4.5 billion was invested in the esports market in 2018 alone.
Northwood is one of the first universities in Michigan to develop a varsity esports team in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Esports. The university renovated a 2,000-square-foot space to create a state-of-the-art training facility. “It’s not only appealing to our students as an extracurricular option, but we’re pleased to offer this as a major,” says Patricia Timm, academic dean.
Many of Northwood’s more than 20 business majors, such as sports management, cybersecurity, and management information systems, include aspects of gaming, data, and analytics. The new esports curriculum also promotes experiential knowledge through internships, practical experiences, and approved projects in the esports industry.
“The uniqueness of this interdisciplinary program is that it brings together elements from various technological and digital disciplines, so students graduate with a well-rounded and marketable degree,” says Jacob Augustin, professor at NU.
Merit scholarships also are available based on a student’s academic performance upon admission. Students must meet academic eligibility requirements and maintain good academic standing to qualify.
“We’re pleased to offer this major to students who have an interest in the esports industry,” says Timm. “We see the value in creating a program that helps our students develop effective communication skills, strategic business acumen, leadership, and critical thinking expertise. All of these skills are crucial in any career field.”