October 11, 2018

Becker adds e-sports scholarships

Photo/File/Grant Welker
Debra Bevin, the Massachusetts economic development specialist for the federal government, and U.S. Rep. James McGovern test out a video game created by Becker College students at the new Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship in February.

Becker College has begun offering scholarships to students studying e-sports management, making it what Becker says is the first program to do so in the country.

Becker's Worcester campus launched in June what it said was the e-sports management degree program in the United States. On Wednesday, Becker took another first-to-do-so step with academic scholarships for the program.

E-sports, which treat sports video games like a spectator event, add to Becker's emphasis on video games, for which it has built a name for itself in recent years. Becker's program was ranked fifth among the best undergraduate game design programs by the Princeton Review last year.

Becker opened the $7.3-million Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship in February, creating a space about four times larger than where the school's roughly 600 video-game students were forced to find space.

Becker's e-sports management major, part of the School of Design and Technology, is designed to give students the knowledge and experience needed to excel in one of the fastest-growing sectors in the sports and entertainment industries. Becker said e-sports are growing at a 40-percent rate each year and are expected to top $1.5 billion in revenue by 2020.

Becker already said it was the first college in Massachusetts to offer scholarships to what it called e-sports student athletes, those who play the online games themselves.

Wednesday's announcement is the latest academic program initiative this year for Becker.

In July, the college launched its fourth school, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, for criminal justice, legal studies, education, psychology and the humanities. It then created its fifth school, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, to centralize its graduate programs. Becker is eyeing potential growth as it considers becoming an anchor tenant at the long-underutilized Worcester Memorial Auditorium.

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