The Rise of Esports in Wisconsin Colleges: A New Frontier for Competitive Gaming

Ian Sheeley, a coach for esports teams at Waukesha County Technical College, is leading the charge in bringing competitive gaming to the forefront of Wisconsin colleges. With the rise of esports as a cultural phenomenon, colleges are recognizing the recruitment potential and investing in new esports facilities. In this article, we explore the impact of esports on Wisconsin colleges and the opportunities it presents for both students and institutions.

Esports: A Growing Trend in Wisconsin Colleges

Explore the rise of esports in Wisconsin colleges and the impact it has on recruitment and enrollment.

Esports has become a prominent trend in Wisconsin colleges, with more than 30 colleges and universities across the state embracing competitive gaming. This growing phenomenon presents a unique opportunity for recruitment, as many prospective students identify with gaming as a culture. With the anticipated increase in enrollment, colleges are investing thousands of dollars into state-of-the-art esports facilities.

By recognizing the popularity and appeal of esports, colleges are staying relevant and attracting students who are passionate about gaming. The impact of esports on recruitment cannot be understated, as it opens doors for students to engage in extracurricular activities and be part of a broader community on campus.

The Benefits of Investing in Esports Facilities

Discover the reasons why colleges are investing in esports facilities and the potential returns on investment.

Colleges have realized the financial and recruitment benefits of investing in esports facilities. While the potential for making money through scholarships and sponsorships is still a long way off, the main return on investment comes from increased enrollment. By providing state-of-the-art gaming spaces, colleges are attracting students who see gaming as a serious pursuit and want to be part of a competitive esports team.

Esports is an emerging industry, similar to traditional sports like football and basketball. By investing in esports now, colleges can position themselves as leaders in this growing field and stay ahead of the curve. Companies like Nike have already recognized the potential of esports and signed apparel deals, further solidifying its place in the mainstream.

Creating a Competitive Environment for Esports

Learn how colleges are fostering a competitive environment for esports and building rivalries between teams.

Colleges in Wisconsin are working towards creating a competitive environment for esports, similar to the rivalries seen in traditional sports. Local action network (LAN) tournaments bring players together to compete against local rivals, fostering a sense of camaraderie and competition. The goal is to build the same level of excitement and rivalry between colleges and universities in Wisconsin that exists in football and other sports.

Head coach Ian Sheeley at Waukesha County Technical College aims to develop a pipeline of high school students who want to join their esports program. By building competitive teams and emphasizing teamwork, communication skills, and open-mindedness, colleges are nurturing a new generation of esports athletes and creating a vibrant gaming community on campus.

The Fun and Inclusive Nature of Esports

Explore the inclusive and enjoyable aspects of esports that attract students to participate.

One of the main reasons students are drawn to esports is the fun and inclusive nature of the activity. In Waukesha County Technical College's esports lab, students gather to play games together, forming connections and laughing. Esports provides an authentic extracurricular option where anyone can feel welcome and be part of a community.

Unlike traditional sports, esports doesn't require a specific physical ability or body type, making it accessible to a wide range of students. It's not about winning money or becoming a professional player for many students; it's simply about having fun and enjoying the gaming experience.


Esports has become a significant trend in Wisconsin colleges, with a growing number of institutions recognizing its appeal and investing in state-of-the-art facilities. The impact of esports on recruitment and enrollment cannot be understated, as many prospective students identify with gaming as a culture and seek a community where they can pursue their passion. By embracing esports, colleges are staying relevant and providing students with opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities and develop valuable skills.

With the potential for scholarships, sponsorships, and industry partnerships, esports is poised to become a thriving industry in the future. Colleges that invest in esports now are positioning themselves as leaders in this emerging field and ensuring they remain competitive in attracting and retaining students. Esports offers an inclusive and enjoyable environment where students can come together, compete, and build lasting connections. It's an exciting time for esports in Wisconsin colleges, and the possibilities for growth and success are limitless.


What are the benefits of investing in esports facilities?

Investing in esports facilities provides colleges with financial returns through increased enrollment. It also positions colleges as leaders in the growing esports industry and offers students state-of-the-art gaming spaces to pursue their passion.

How are colleges fostering a competitive environment for esports?

Colleges are organizing local tournaments and building rivalries between teams to create a competitive atmosphere for esports. Coaches focus on teamwork, communication skills, and player development to nurture a new generation of esports athletes.

Why are students attracted to esports?

Students are drawn to esports because of its inclusive and enjoyable nature. It provides a fun extracurricular activity where anyone can participate, regardless of physical ability or body type.

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