Do you or your kids play video games? Northwood University is proving it may pay off more than you might think.

According to a 2019 study done by financial consulting firm Deloitte and ‘the eSports Observer,’ in 2018 eSports online streams reached 395 million viewers.  One streamed event this year included the gaming highlight that was the Fortnite World Cup, it’s 3 million dollar prize, and it’s 16-year old champion.

Northwood added an official eSports varsity team last January and has been offering up to $60,000 in scholarships to players.

Currently in their inaugural season, the team plays popular games such as Rocket League, Overwatch and Fortnite. A state-of-the-art, 2,000 sq. ft. practice facility has been added. The university has also hire Head Coach Cody Elsen. The team has since racked up wins.

Elsen says even though the students involved may not always be traditionally physically gifted, they’re still athletes competing in a sport, comparing it to others done for entertainment such as hunting or fishing.

Senior eSport player Drew Gatchel practicing some Overwatch (Photo Credit- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

Interest in the program to grew so that Northwood is planning to offer a degree in eSports Management, a first for the state of Michigan.

Northwood Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, said like many management programs at the school, this one won’t skimp on anything just because it involves video games. Students will be able to choose from courses in coaching and event management, while also getting a chance at a management internship with the team.

Marketing and Franchise business management senior Drew Gatchel says even before the classes start next year, eSports has already helped him with lifelong skills like time management, organization, and teamwork.

A look into the 2,000 sqft. team training facility (Photo Credit- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

An eSports Management degree would fall under Northwood’s business administration undergraduate program, offering courses on coaching and event management and incorporate team management, cybersecurity, and data-analytics.

A full course outline has not yet been posted to the school’s website, but the program will be offered as both a major and minor for anyone entering business administration in 2020.

Head Coach Cody Elsen holding up a Northwood eSports jersey (Photo Credit- Ric Antonio; WSGW)

You can visit the Northwood University Website to apply for the management program, or try out for the eSports team. To keep up to date on the team’s progress, you can also follow them on twitter @NorthwoodEsport