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Michigan Upgrades Esports to Varsity

  • Robert Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, has donated to the University of Michigan.
  • The donation will help launch an esports program.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, donated $4 million to the University of Michigan’s School of Information to launch a multidisciplinary esports program.

Kotick’s enthusiasm to establish esports at Michigan is part of a bigger movement that has legitimized gaming as a path to a college degree and career. 

There are nearly 200 colleges and universities nationwide with varsity esports programs and more than $16 million in scholarships is awarded to esports athletes each year

The growth of collegiate esports allows institutions and their students to tap into a market that is expected to surpass $1.5 billion by 2023, per Esports Ecosystem Report. 

Michigan added a recreational esports program in 2020, but Kotick’s donation will elevate it to varsity sports status and incorporate gaming into the curriculum. Students can also minor in esports beginning in 2022-23. 

“Esports has very different, unique aspects that we need to begin to understand,” said Michigan School of Kinesiology professor Mark Rosentraub. “This is what makes it so exciting.”

Kevin Durant recently invested in an esports group.

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