Kean University will launch a competitive esports program and open a new esports arena in Fall 2021, joining hundreds of universities and colleges across the country offering the fast-growing sport of competitive gaming.
Kean’s co-ed esports team will become the 15th Kean Athletics program and will compete against teams from other universities as part of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) esports division, which hosts esports competitions, leagues, tournaments and exhibitions throughout the academic year.
“Competitive gaming is wildly popular and is one of the fastest-growing sports at the collegiate level,” said Kelly Williams, Kean’s director of athletics. “We know Kean students are engaging in esports, and we are looking forward to seeing many of them compete on behalf of the University.”
Esports is an organized, multiplayer online video game competition. Games include Madden NFL 21, FIFA 21, NBA 2K 21, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League, Valorant and more.
The team will practice and compete in a new esports arena now being built on the second floor of the Green Lane Academic Building. The 2,612 square-foot space will feature a large screen for competitions, an area for spectators, state-of-the-art computers built for gaming and gaming consoles, including Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox.
All Kean students will be able to use the space when it’s not being used for practice or competition by the University’s esports team.
“As we come back to campus this Fall, all of our students, including new freshmen, will be looking for ways to get together with friends and share their college experience now more than ever,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “Esports are a great way to do that, and we are happy to add it to our athletics roster.”
Interest and participation in esports events has exploded in recent years, with an audience of 495 million worldwide in 2020, according to Forbes. The audience is expected to grow to 600 million by 2023, according to Business Insider, up 79% from 2017.
Kean’s team will have a coach and scheduled practices in addition to competitions. In the coming months, Kean Athletics will begin recruiting for team members. Interested students should fill out the Esports Recruitment Form.