Competitive video gaming, also known as esports, has been on the rise for several years. With 20 million fans in the United States alone and a 15% year-over-year increase, it’s safe to say the once-niche interest is here to stay.
Through the pandemic, as people around the world searched for something to occupy time at home, the esports community has grown even faster. In 2020, more than 14 million college students played video games – whether casually, socially or competitively – averaging about 8.2 hours spent gaming each week. At UofL, nearly 200 students have found a home in the up-and-coming Louisville Esports Club.
“Some people watch movies, some people go to the gym and some people play games as their outlet and I think that’s true for many of our students,” said Louisville Esports staff advisor Matt Banker.
Though the club has been in existence for several years, it wasn’t until the current club president Braden Hensley’s freshman year that it really took off.
As part of an assignment for an English class in the spring of 2018, Hensley had to write about something he enjoyed. Growing up playing video games with two older brothers, esports seemed like the simplest choice.
“Collegiate esports was kind of becoming a thing,” Hensley said. “I did a bunch of research on it and realized that this was going to be the