Next on WPSU’s ‘Digging Deeper': The rise of eSports at Penn State

October 16, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State President Eric Barron will talk about the rising popularity of eSports and how universities are getting involved in the trend during the next episode of WPSU’s “Digging Deeper” on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Gabriela Richard, assistant professor of education and faculty adviser to the Penn State eSports Club, and Paul Mengucci, founder of the Penn State League of Legends club, will join Barron on “Digging Deeper” at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on WPSU-TV.

In 2019, global eSports revenue will hit $1.1 billion through advertising, sponsorship and media rights to competitive video gaming, according to a report from Newzoo, a gaming industry analytics firm. Richard says the popularity of live-streaming game play in the early 2010s has led to increased exposure and participation.

“When people realized they could watch what these outstanding pro players were doing and learn from them and teach others, or even people that are amateurs could play and become their own personalities and celebrities, that took this to a different level,” she said. “It really became a form of entertainment that a lot of young people are spending most of their time engaging in.”

Approximately 100 students are part of the University’s eSports club, but the number can increase to as many 250 to 350 depending on whether they are competing in an intra- or intercollege competition. Mengucci said eSports participation takes a true commitment.

"We have mandatory three days a week going to the gym," he said. "You have to have your mind and body right to be able to compete, whether it be in video games or traditional sports. What we like to say to our students who participate is that it's like you're taking another eight credits of classes.”

Richard says that most colleges are competing at the club level, but there has been a rise of college programs granted varsity status. She said those programs enjoy similar resources to traditional athletic varsity programs, including coaches, managers, nutritionists, sports psychologists and possible scholarship opportunities.

Visit the WPSU website for more information on central Pennsylvania’s public media station.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 16, 2019