Learning the business of esports

Esports team in a competition

When thinking of competitive sports games, what often comes to mind is big crowds, excited energy and roars of enthusiasm as the game unfolds. What many people don’t think about is what goes on administratively behind the scenes to make such an event possible. In recent years, the esports industry has experienced exponential growth, and with it has come an abundance of careers in esports administration

The Esports Administration program at Mohawk College has been designed in partnership with industry experts to ensure that students learn the fundamentals that will allow them to work in any branch of esports administration. “It is a business program. Students will start with foundational business knowledge, market research, how to assess a market, find the wants and needs of customers within the markets. Based on those business skills, students will branch into one specific area once they've learned a little bit about everything. So, we're going to introduce people to fundamental business skills that are going to allow them to be successful in specific streams of esports,” said Andrew Fedurko, program coordinator for the Esports Administration program. 

“Whether it's law, broadcasting, event production. Whether it's live events or digital events. Whether you’re directly involved with the athletes, the video game players, tournaments, leagues, events, or you're a coach, these fundamentals will help you to succeed. We're going to teach students skills to understand what the industry is and find their pathway in these very diverse potential opportunities,” he continued. 

Students have the opportunity to practice these fundamentals and get hands-on experience working with and learning industry standards through experiential learning. “There's a market research component, so we're going to teach students how to analyze the industry to look for a need to create and release a product. They'll have very hands on learning through our partners within the industry to work on real projects,” said Andrew. “From there, once students have come up with an idea based on what the market wants and needs and start developing it, they’ll need skills like sales, communication skills to pitch it, marketing skills to make sure it reaches the target audience. We want to teach students not just how to get involved with the industry, but how to be a successful entrepreneur, business owner, or professional within that industry.” 

The approach to hands-on learning extends to the technology prominently used in the industry, ensuring students have the best preparation possible for any hardware or software they may encounter on-the-job. “When it comes to technology, our goal is to develop programming that is agnostic in relation to software and hardware,” said Dr. Lisa Funnell, Associate Dean of Creative Industries. “We recognize that technology is going to change and will continue to change, and so what we want to do is educate our students and give them those transferable skills so that they can apply them to whatever technology is coming their way.” 

Andrew added, “What we can promise is if there is a need for the technology in industry, then there will be a component of it offered through our program.” 

Lisa and Andrew have many years of expertise between them to draw from while designing the esports Administration program and have leveraged their connections to bring in industry experts and employers currently working in the industry to help design the program, ensuring the program is up to date with latest industry practices and is providing skills that employers are seeking. 

“We're finding that industry is reaching out to us. While developing the program student success is our ‘North Star,’ and we rely on our program advisory committees to guide us. We want to know where the industry is going so that we can prepare our students to be career ready two years from now, four years from now, ten years from now. We're always forward looking,” said Lisa.  

“In the case of esports administration, the industry's reaching out to us. They've heard about our program. They're seeing the momentum that we're building. They love our inclusive approach, and they're reaching out, wanting to partner with us, to connect with us, to teach in our program. We've had such an immense reaction from industry that we're just looking forward to sharing those connections with our students,” she continued. 

Lisa’s desire to connect with students extends to everyone who is interested in video games or the esports industry, stating everyone is welcome. “At Mohawk College, it's our goal to turn passion into a profession. We're looking for students who are passionate about the esports industry, about gaming, and then giving them the skills that they need in order to enter into that workforce,” said Lisa. 

“For us, it’s not so much about showing them what the industry is, but what they can be within it,” Andrew added. 

Want to learn more?

Attend one of our Open House events to learn more about Esports Administration and visit our hands-on labs.