VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Once considered a niche, is now mainstream.
"Back in the day gaming was kinda for the nerdy people, or the geeky people, and now everybody’s doing it," Kyle Dodd, Esports Director for Bryant & Stratton College Virginia Beach, said.
Esports have grown exponentially in recent years and colleges are making room for them in their athletic programs.
That includes Bryant & Stratton College, which became just the sixth college in Virginia to offer esports as par of the National Association of Collegiate Esports in 2019.
"Everything an esports athlete would need to compete at the highest level, we can provide it," Dodd said.
The Bobcats have unveiled their brand new esports lab at the Virginia Beach campus. It contains 31 game stations, brand new technology and even their own jumbotron that emulates the kind you'd see in a basketball arena.
The new lab is a spot where the Bobcats train to compete in tournaments both nationally and internationally.
Esports are like any other sport, with athletes recruited and even offered scholarships to play. If there was ever a time to get involved in competitive esports, "I would definitely say now is the time," Dodd said. "If your kids are into esports, definitely take a serious consideration into what their future can be. It’s no different from a normal athlete who is doing football in elementary school, then middle and high school, and then for the opportunity to get a scholarship.
"It's no different for esports now. You start at a young age and really start grinding those skills, and getting well to where colleges will start to look at you."