In 2018, the National Federation of State High School Associations recognized esports as an official sport. In 2020, U.S. colleges and universities awarded nearly $16 million in esports scholarships, prompting K12 schools to start their own esports teams.
In this blog, Best Buy Education offers steps to starting an esports league on your campus and the benefits it brings to schools and students. Procurement professionals are integral to implementing an esports program. OMNIA Partners offers competitively solicited cooperative contracts that schools can trust to effectively establish an esports program.
What Benefits Do Esports Bring to Schools?
Participation breaks down barriers and brings students together over a common interest. It fosters comradery and teamwork. And, with millions of dollars in available scholarships, it motivates students to perform academically and opens career doors in a billion-dollar industry.
- Drives enrollment in K12 and higher education
- Generates revenue for schools
- Can increase academic performance and student success rates, which can lead to better school funding
- Supports diversity and fosters inclusion
- Creates a community and outlet for students who might not engage in traditional extracurricular activities
- Expands critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity in players
- Promotes student well-being and character development
- Offers scholarship opportunities
- Provides career paths
How Do You Start a Team?
1. Reach out to students and staff
Find out how many students are interested in participating and what games and tournaments they’re interested in–this will determine the equipment you’ll need. Learn which staff are interested in supporting your team. Depending on the size of your team, some roles may overlap. At the very least, you need a coach/facilitator and tech expert to get your team up and running.
2. Consider where you'll house your esports lab
Do you have room in your computer lab? Will you need to remodel existing space, or build a new space? Plan your space to accommodate team growth.
3. Research funding opportunities
We recommend budgeting and managing your team under your athletics department to ensure ongoing funding and program success. You can fund your team through grants, your community and your fanbase.
4. Build your esports lab
Choose a tech partner/supplier to help you build your gaming infrastructure and equip your gaming arena.
5. Create an esports team brand
Creating a brand for your esports team will attract attention and grow your audience. Ideally, this brand is relatable, instantly recognizable and separate from your athletics team brand.
Now That We Have a Team, How Do We Compete?
Once your team has established a regular practice routine and feels ready to compete,
it’s time to move up to the next level.
- Incorporate tournament management software into your tech system
- Build your fanbase through community events and fundraisers
- Promote your team through a website and social media channels
- Enter and compete in tournaments
- Accommodate your fanbase (family, friends, community) with streaming gear and brand merchandise
Now that you know how to start a team, here is a checklist to help you get started!
How to Choose an Esports Equipment Partner?
The vendor you choose is instrumental to the success and future of your esports team. It is recommended that you choose a proven esports partner that will collaborate with you to accommodate your budget and support your program. OMNIA Partners is proud to partner with Best Buy Education to provide education technology products, solutions, and services on a cooperative contract that meets all your esports needs. By leveraging the purchasing power of OMNIA Partners, you have exclusive access to nationally priced products and services that allow you to do more with your budget and resources for less of the costs.
Best Buy Education works with you every step of the way to provide:
- Expertise and experience building and outfitting esports teams
- An assortment of esports products
- Trusted engineering capabilities, project management and installation services and ongoing technology support
- Relationships with key partners and suppliers
Click to Learn How Esports Can Transform Your School!
ABOUT BEST BUY BUSINESS AND OMNIA PARTNERS
Best Buy Business provides end to end solutions for business and educational purposes serving businesses, state and local government agencies and educational organizations of all sizes. Through the purchasing power of OMNIA Partners, participating agencies can leverage a cooperative contract with Best Buy Business to save time and money on their IT products and solutions. To view the entire OMNIA Partners contract portfolio, click here. Not a participant? Become one today!