Bethel University adds eSports to varsity lineup

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Bethel University announced on May 20 the addition of an eSports team that will compete on the varsity level beginning this fall.
The eSports team becomes Bethel’s 26th varsity sport and the University’s first foray into the competitive—and rapidly expanding—eSports space.
“We are excited about bringing one of the fastest growing sports in the nation to our campus. This adds more opportunities for young people to enjoy the Bethel collegiate experience,” said Director of Athletics Dale Kelley.
Bethel joins 14 other Mid-South Conference schools to offer an eSports program.
In eSports, teams compete against each other as they do in conventional competition, but instead of sharing a playing field, they do battle over bandwidth.
“Like other traditional sports, varsity eSports provide students with an avenue to build work ethic, teamwork, social skills, cooperation, authority, respect, responsibility, develop critical skills and gain valuable experiences,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Brad Chappell.
Assistant Professor and Director of Sports Management Dr. Josh Greer will lead the eSports program as its head coach and director.
“Just like the more traditional varsity sports, eSports involves commitment, practice, time, teamwork, and strategic development,” Greer said.
The University has committed to providing 15 scholarships to entering freshmen or transfer students who qualify to compete.
The athletics department is set to begin construction in June on an eSports arena that will serve as its digital home venue. The arena will be housed in the Vera Low Center and will be equipped with top-tier gaming equipment.
The team will compete in well-known games including League of Legends, Rocket League and Smash Bros. Ultimate.
According to the website Influencer Marketing Hub, eSports viewership increased significantly every year from 2016 to 2020, and brands are seizing the opportunity to get in front of large and engaged audiences.
For more information on this topic or media availability, please contact Dr. Greer at greerj@bethelu.edu or Brad Chappell at chappellb@ bethelu.edu.