What is Esports?

Explore the world of competitive online gaming happening at colleges across the globe.
In this Section

What is esports?

Esports (electronic sports) is organized competitive online gaming. Game genres vary greatly (multiplayer online battle arena, real-time strategy, first-person shooter, etc.) and a team's size and composition depends on game selection. Esports teams have access to dedicated gaming machines  and since competition occurs online, no travel is required.

For collegiate esports, student athletes schedule regular practices or team meetings to review film and discuss strategy with their coach. Scrimmages and competitions with other universities are held throughout the academic year.

Like many other sports, esports competitions occur at both the collegiate and professional level. NACE makes up the bulk of collegiate esports, with over 90% of colleges with an esports team being a part of the association. Professional competitions are typically hosted by the game's developer. Examples include the  League of Legends World Championship hosted by Riot Games, and Overwatch League (OWL) by Blizzard.

Overwatch League Arena in Los Angles, CA. 13 million viewers tuned in for the launch of its second season in 2018. / Photograph provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

$908 million in revenue for 2018.


308 million esports viewers worldwide in 2018.


$1.1 billion projected revenue for 2019.

Photograph in hero image contributed by Przemek Tokar.