Community In Esports

Posted: February 8, 2024

by Mykiah Bonhom, Spectrum Industries, Inc.  


Esports is experiencing rapid growth in popularity, with projections of being worth over 2 billion in the next few years. It is safe to say esports has a bright future. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the monetary value of esports. Sports and gaming offer numerous advantages, with esports demonstrating a unique capability to unite gaming enthusiasts. Esports offers a unique opportunity for educators, stakeholders, and organizations to unite a community of people who may not have the means of meeting others like them, especially at the K-12 and collegiate levels. 

K-12 Benefits: 

Kids worldwide are playing video games, enjoying games like Subway Surfers on their tablets or building entire new worlds in Minecraft. However, there are limited ways for growing children to find people with similar gaming interests besides online interactions. While online relationships are beneficial, real-life moments can be more impactful. Witnessing effective communication and teamwork among children is truly a sight to behold. 

Esports can fill a void that other forms of media cannot. Introducing an esports program to local school programming can create engagement within students. Current after-school engagement often revolves around traditional sports teams, but not every child has an interest in playing these sports. Instead of forming a sports team, establishing a "gaming hub" in a vacant room can help students find others who share their interests. 

When starting a program, it's crucial to consider what the kids want. It is easy to get caught up in the idea of winning state championships. However, the students may be interested in playing games like Roblox or starting a Minecraft server. Even if they're not competing at a high level, they can still make friends and learn necessary skills for their future, such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and goal setting 

Esports also excels in diversity and inclusion. Unlike many extracurricular activities, esports break down barriers based on factors like socioeconomic status or gender. Anyone who enjoys playing video games can participate, fostering opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to find common ground. Esports encourages boys and girls to be on the same team, enables children from low-income families to play with those from high-income families, and facilitates learning about diverse experiences. Esports allows communities that would never have interacted to be exposed to each other in a mutual setting. All scholastic schools can benefit from having students engage in a community where they feel like they belong. 

Collegiate Benefits:  

Gaming and esports don't only benefit K-12 programs; collegiate programs can also benefit from adding an esports team or program. For first-year students arriving on campus, esports provide an avenue to make friends with similar interests and discover a passion. 

Students can get involved in numerous ways within an esports program, including competing on a varsity team, starting a club team, or taking part in broadcast production and event management communities. The lengths of which college students can take their esports programs has yet to be seen. We are already seeing the witnessing the early stages of potential events such as Boost on the Beach hosted by Shenandoah Esports or The Niner Esports Union LAN Party. Students have shown their ability to test boundaries and be innovative with their resources. That captures the essence of student-led esports communities. 

Here is a quote from a collegiate student about their experience. 

Ian Burnett: Senior of Shenandoah University, Student Esports Production Coordinator 

“Coming into college I wasn’t sure what friendships I would find since I am from another state. It took about a week of esports practices and overall being around the program to feel at home in the community. Everyone is interested in the same thing and having a place to play and learn created friendships that will last a lifetime.” 

“I have been lucky enough to move into a student leadership position and the sense of community has really felt tenfold. All admin and students have accepted me with open arms for the past 3 and a half years and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

The world of esports is not just a realm of entertainment, it holds the potential to revolutionize how we build communities, especially in educational settings. From K-12 to collegiate levels, esports provide a unique platform for students to connect, collaborate, and cultivate lifelong friendships. As we witness the growth of esports, it will prove to be pivotal in fostering inclusivity, breaking down barriers, and creating spaces where gamers from diverse backgrounds find common ground. Esports is the gateway to creating a community where passion, skill, and camaraderie intertwine to shape the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. 


Mykiah Bonhom is an Esports Specialist with Spectrum Industries. Mykiah graduated from Shenandoah University, as a Presidential Scholar, with a degree in Esports Management. 




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