Columbia Basin College to level up its athletic teams with new esports league this fall

PASCO, Wash. — Students at Columbia Basin College (CBC) are gearing up to get their game on as the greatly anticipated Student Recreation Center (SRC) that features a brand new esports room is set to open in the fall.

The term is short for electronic sports and it combines video games with competition among teams and individuals.

School officials said it will be the first time in the Eastern Washington region that esports is put on the map.

“We know that collegiate esports is growing quickly across the country and we believe starting a program here at CBC will bring many great opportunities to our students. Having a space in our brand-new SRC designed specifically for esports will set us up for great success and should be a very appealing asset when recruiting esports student-athletes to CBC,” said Alex Thornton, director for student recreation and wellness.

Students will be able to play popular games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League by using one of the room’s 16 gaming stations.

It will also feature custom computers and live streaming setups so “we could compete with a team in Florida just sitting in that room.”

“At the collegiate level, it’s been a very fast-growing thing that colleges all across the country are picking up,” Thornton said. “At the junior college level specifically, one of the organizations that people compete in has gone from 12 schools when they started in 2019 to almost 100.”

The global phenomenon now rakes in millions of dollars yearly.

According to Newzoo, a source for esports analytics, revenues grew to over $1 million dollars in 2021 with the global live streaming audience hitting about 730 million.

“We’re definitely very excited to get this program growing and we think it’ll be a cool thing for our students to take advantage of,” Thornton said. “It opens up the benefits that more traditional sports bring like the team building, leadership, that kind of stuff to a demographic that might not typically participate, especially at the organized kind of collegiate competitive level.”

Currently, the school is searching for a full-time esports coach. Listed below are requirements from a CBC news release:

The position will combine Completion Coach and esports coaching duties.  As one of the college’s Completion Coaches, the position includes: academic advising, progress monitoring, and proactive interventions for at-risk students.  As an Esports Coach, the position will coordinate competition and practice schedules, marketing, and broadcasting. The salary range is $60,744-$69,800 per year.

Required qualifications include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Student Services or related field from an institutionally accredited college or university;
  • Two (2) years of increasingly responsible work experience preferably in an educational setting in providing direct support to students;
  • Knowledge and experience with esports games;
  • Ability to envision and drive growth for the development, implementation, and launch of an esports program at CBC; and
  • Ability to coordinate all team travel and transportation in conjunction with CBC staff.

The first round of applications will be considered on May 8.

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