RMU to offer new esports elective spring 2019


Scott Mcdanel, Contributor

The School of Business is looking to enroll students in a new experimental elective class this coming spring semester, which focuses on the fast-growing industry of esports.

Robert Morris isn’t the only school jumping in on this trend, which Dr. David Synowka, professor of sport management and department head, describes esports as “a tsunami creeping up on higher education.”

According to Synowka, the course’s content will focus on how esports has evolved to become a part of the wider sports industry. In addition to that, students will look at a number of related areas.

“(Students will look at) the different parameters of the esports industry, different areas such as high school, intercollegiate and professional sports, as well as providing students with the background of the entertainment sports management area,” Synowka said.

The course will also cover setting up teams, organized leagues and sponsorship, but in order to be able to take this class, you must have taken one of three economics courses and a basic computer (INFS) course.

“(The inspiration for the course came) four or five years ago when I became aware of the growing organized competitive sport trend of esports — we started to look at where we were as a university with esports, and we found out there was a very large contingent of students who play video games,” Synowka said. “Some compete at a higher level than others and some have competed very successfully at the national level.”

When asked about what games will be covered in the class, all Synowka would say is that he is planning to leave that to his co-instructor. He also made it clear that the course will not be about playing the games or about learning gaming strategies rather teaching about the business side of the industry.

Robert Morris is looking into a certification for teaching esports, which means that additional courses may gain content to support that effort.

“(We) may add content to other courses that will help support the certificate as far as people want to move into the area of esports management,”Synowka said.