North Park University will award 15 Esports Excellence scholarships, ranging from $500–$2,000, to incoming students who commit to playing for the new Esports varsity team.
The scholarships, which will be awarded beginning in the fall 2023 term, will be available to full-time students who are incoming first-year or transfer students.
North Park’s Esports Varsity team, which kicked off in fall 2022, has joined the National Esports Collegiate Conference and is competing this month in the VALORANT competition.
Other Esports played at North Park include Super Smash Bros. and Ultimate.
“What I really want to promote most heavily with Esports is the level of cooperation and camaraderie you can form by being on a team,” said Esports Varsity Coach Peter Casella. “I want people to understand the friendships you can make playing a sport.”
North Park Esports games will be played at Ignite Gaming Lounge in Skokie, widely considered one of the largest and best video game and LAN center businesses in the country. The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and is located directly across from the Skokie-Oakton Yellow Line CTA stop, making it readily accessible to students.
Esports, a form of competitive, organized video gaming, is most often used in a “multiplayer” setting. As a fan-friendly sport when it comes to viewership and streaming, Esports is expected to net 29.6 million monthly viewers this year, up 11.5% from 2021 according to estimates done by Insider Intelligence.
Chicago has been a hotspot for Esports for many years and North Park is well-situated with its Chicago campus to be in the epicenter of this growing sport.