If your answer was yes because you just woke up with your English term paper being due today not tomorrow.
By: Jacob Bergeron
Esports revenue was averaged at around $700 million in 2017 with an expected value around $1.5 billion by 2020. An annual estimated increase of 29% is projected, which makes it safe to say that the industry is booming, and a fledgling section of this industry can be found in its collegiate programs sprouting up around the country.
Collegiate Esports is a burgeoning business with universities like Boise State, Georgia State, and the University of Utah all having programs. Some like Robert University in Chicago, Illinois are even offering scholarships similar to those offered to traditional athletes. However, not all universities have the resources to offer such extensive programs and it can be daunting trying to convince the decision makers up on high that video games can be a viable revenue stream.
An organization founded by a group of dedicate students known as the Ragin’ Cajuns Esports organization is one such program establishing itself on UL’s campus. Spawned from humble beginnings as SMASH Brothers organization, they are now a legitimate collegiate endeavor to formalize University connections with established competitive teams in Overwatch, League of Legends, and Rocket League within the organization.
Dr. Joseph Savioe current UL President has been a staunch supporter for the establishment of an Esports organization within the UL system, but believed that it could not be forced. A group of dedicated gamers with real community backing were needed if an established organization would be successful. STEP and members of the executive board of the UL system have allowed for the first footholds of the Ragin’ Cajuns Esports organization to be established. The members of the Organization’s executive board are dedicated to the longevity of a legitimate contender within the electronic athletic space in the region.
The Organization’s leadership is comprised of an executive board that holds nine positions including President and Esports Director. While the board was established by the current founding members, they are looking towards the future by implementing a mentoring program for all executive positions to train the next leaders of the organization. The longevity of this organization is at the forefront of all the board’s actions. From establishing firm connections with the UL administration board, building a campus community, and establishing gaming spaces on campus.
The competitive teams are headed by Cody Abshire, Esports Director. Cody is also the tank position on the organization’s Overwatch team. Abshire stated that the focus of the organization is to bolster the number of members within the community, while in tandem utilize that growing community to support the creation of more teams that the organization fields in competitions. In accordance with that mission, the organization hosts many community events through their Discord server. Soon, there will be an event that will be played in Garry’s Mod that is available for $2.50 on Steam. There will be scrimmage matches with the Esports teams from New Mexico State during 2018 homecoming week of September 22-29th.
Plans are in motion to establish a game lounge on campus for the benefit of the University’s student body to further build the community’s identity and boost recruitment to the competitive teams. Unused space near Café Fleur De Lis is in the early stages of being converted into an elite training center for the organization’s competitive teams.
All of this is possible for the Ragin’ Cajun Esports organization due to the backing that it receives from the student-centric Office of Technical Support, OSS, and the administration. OSS provides both financial and technical support for the organization, and the university’s administration is supportive of the efforts being made to establish itself seeing as both a new addition to the University’s diversity in organizations and potential revenue stream. Ian Madray stated “Right now, we have full support from the admins. We are student run, and we want to show that we can achieve a high level of quality in what we do. I think we've surprised the administration in how much we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time.”
Ragin’ Cajuns Esports Organization is an organization only on the rise with its ever-increasing community, financial and technical support from the University, forward thinking leadership, and the establishment of both community and competitive facilities on campus in the future.
You can join the community Cajun Esports Discord server here https://discord.gg/Z75UY4f.