Virtual combine showcases top esports athletes in Indiana and across the country – Fox 59

Virtual combine showcases top esports athletes in Indiana and across the country – Fox 59

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of high schoolers are preparing to virtually showcase their gaming talents to the nation’s top esports recruiters.

Friday marks day one of the 2021 Virtual Esports Combine, powered by Harena Data and Indiana Sports Corp.

Similar to the NFL Combine layout, the goal is to bring top talent under one roof, in Indianapolis, to catch the eye of nearly 150 scouts representing esports collegiate programs and leagues. However, with the pandemic still in play, students will compete and network virtually.

“It’s a growing industry that so many kids and high schoolers are growing up loving how to play esports, and now there are opportunities where you can get a scholarship for it and even really build a career for it as well,” said Brett Kramer, Indiana Sports Corp.

The growing interest continues to reflect in the industry’s worth. Numbers show a nearly 50 percent increase in global esports this year, valued at more than $1 billion.

Meanwhile, colleges and universities are also investing in the industry, including here in Indiana. That’s as several already offer esports-related scholarships and programs.

“Butler University is now building an esports facility. Ball State has already invested in some. The Horizon League, locally, has a collegewide esports league,” Kramer said. “So, it’s growing in popularity, and colleges and universities are finding it very lucrative to be involved with, but at the same time, the same students that love esports are also very good in STEM-related academics.”

The growing interest allows students to continue their education through