Omnia Partners Graphic Hero Swoosh
Omnia Partners Graphic Hero Swoosh

Understanding Purchasing for the Esports Trend

As your procurement team looks at trends in higher education institutions and K-12 school districts, we’re seeing a growing emphasis on adding esports programs into the curriculum. The emergence of the competitive gaming scene has advanced in recent months, and school administrators in all levels of education are looking at how to incorporate esports into academic and sporting programs. 

The idea would be for esports to serve as an extension of current programs providing your students with a new outlet to learn valuable lessons in STEM, collaboration, inclusion, social skills and good sportsmanship. This engaging method of reaching students can help children and teens lay the groundwork for strategic thinking and problem-solving.  

From procurement’s perspective, it’s working with school leaders and other stakeholders to find a way to fold this popular competitive video gaming into existing IT infrastructure and learning spaces. Your cooperative purchasing organization can streamline this process for you as their industry-leading suppliers are a step ahead in offering solutions to meet the diverse esports needs of your school district or university.   

Through your cooperative, procurement, school administrators and IT professionals can understand and align on the most cost-effective and streamlined strategy for including esports in your curriculum. 

Benefits for Students & Schools

The world of esports is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and experts say it may even earn a spot in the 2024 Olympics. It’s safe to say many of your students are likely gamers, and down the road at a professional level, multiplayer competitive gaming has opened up a world where gamers can make a good living playing in tournaments.   

Some colleges and universities already offer esports courses to students with a total of tens of millions in scholarships available. College esports teams can attract students and prove their school is innovative and in touch with student needs. Esports can also help high schoolers with college enrollment. As a newer interest for K-12 administrations, school leaders are working out how to cost-effectively include esports into the curriculum.  

Esports provides an opportunity for students who would otherwise not participate in extracurricular activities or sports. The gaming environment removes gender and disability barriers while encouraging transferable skills such as goal setting, problem-solving, teamwork and communication and overall can help with character development. Kids and teens can also explore STEM’s focuses of science, technology, engineering and math in different contexts along with video and sound editing, graphic design, broadcasting and event planning.  

Equipping Your School or Campus

Hardware and software with ample bandwidth and network security are needed for gaming, and this will require buy in from your IT stakeholders. Your cooperative advisors and subject matter experts can help you with the educational aspect for success in stakeholder alignment.  

To get your purchasing team familiar with the strong IT infrastructure and flexible furniture needs of setting up an esports program, we’re taking a look at what products and solutions your schools would need: 

  • Security – School teams need a plan for security threats and defense. On-premise solutions are preferred for tight control and prevention to stop game interference.  
  • Network speed & agility – In the streaming platforms where tournaments are broadcast, there can be delays and massive groups of players, so you’ll want to have playback functionality that’s quick with flawless operation.   
  • Gaming hardware – The consoles or computers that operate the games. Schools will want to consider features like processing power, hard drives, memory and graphics cards.
  • Furniture – Modular furniture and chairs with ergonomic features are . Student athletes need active seating-type chairs that move with their gaming movements along with tables and computer screens that adjust to the right eye level. Adjustable headrests are a must as they keep students' heads balanced on the torso helping prevent spinal deformity. OMNIA Partners supplier Steelcase offers a wide range of furniture solutions for K-12 and higher education esports needs. Their family of brands provide a comprehensive portfolio of architecture, furniture and technology products and services supporting social, economic and environmental sustainability. 

Getting Started with Cooperative Purchasing

Your cooperative can help you get a jump start on answering the questions for administrators will have regarding the esports program: 

  • What leagues can our students compete in? 
  • What games can our students play and how do we stream? 
  • What security and network requirements do we need?

OMNIA Partners supplier Insight Public Sector has the expertise to guide you through your esports initiative. Whether you’re ready to enter your student into their first tournament using their own devices or building an inclusive experiential hub fostering creative growth.  

From the machines to green screens, Best Buy Education offers a full assortment of esports tech that will help you build a gaming lab from the ground up. Their professional engineering and design team will make sure you have a rock-solid network connection. And if you’re not ready to build out an entire esports lab, they can help supplement your existing tech.  

OMNIA Partners supplier CDW-G has years of experience and deep partnerships with leading gaming manufacturers and can partner with your institution to develop a comprehensive esports solution. From handling the data center, networking, esports arena design, and game streaming, CDW can help you every step of the way. No matter if your institution is just getting started with esports or looking to take your game to the next level.  

The suppliers mentioned above are just a few examples of how cooperative contracts can connect you to world-class supplier solutions for your esports initiative and planning. You can leverage the buying cooperative as a strategic part of your procurement strategy so you can drive efficiency, effectiveness and real savings within your agency or organization. We adhere to the highest standards of public procurement so you can feel secure knowing that you are in full compliance with industry regulations.