Drexel’s LeBow College of Business Introduces Esport Business Degree

Silhouette of a person with headphones on in front a monitor playing a video game.

Many industries are suffering due to pandemic-related shutdowns and regulations; however, the gaming industry has seen unmatched growth while people are staying home and connecting virtually. Identifying the growing trend in the industry prior to COVID-19, Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business sought to create a new esport major within the already successful Sport Business program. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with an Esport Business major is designed for students who plan to pursue careers in the competitive video gaming industry.

While many schools across the country, including Drexel, are beginning to offer varsity or club esports teams, few are offering a degree in the field — and even fewer a degree that includes both business and design. In addition to the required business core classes offered in LeBow, esport students will also take game design and management courses in Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

“The Drexel LeBow esport program is distinctive because we are able to offer a curriculum with courses in game design and esport management all within a business degree from a top-notch program,” said Joel Maxcy, PhD, a professor in LeBow and head of the Sport Business department. “Our Philadelphia location offers students access to experiential opportunities – co-ops, internships, jobs – with the leaders of this quickly developing industry.”

The business of esport is a multibillion-dollar industry with a growing international audience, as well as a growing presence in Philadelphia. Esport tournaments have become so popular that their size and scale now rival traditional sporting events. As the industry expands, there are increasing job opportunities in areas related to professional and recreational esports, including law, event management, facility management, marketing and more.

“By leveraging the distinctive benefits of the LeBow College of Business, the BSBA in Esport Business provides Drexel students with the skills necessary to become future leaders and decision-makers in the emergent ecosystem of esports,” said Jeffrey Levine, JD, PhD, an assistant clinical professor in LeBow, who will be leading the new program. “Using an innovative entrepreneurial approach, we embody the hallmark of Drexel and LeBow: a holistic education that combines interdisciplinary academic knowledge with experiential learning and cooperative education through industry partnerships with a variety of esport stakeholders here in Philadelphia and beyond.”

LeBow will offer students the ability to develop a strong business core and specialize in topics specific to the esport industry, such as game design and strategy, so that students will gain a unique background and the requisite knowledge to pursue the esport job market.

“The new esports major epitomizes LeBow's focus on market-driven curriculum innovation,” said Vibhas Madan, PhD, LeBow’s interim dean. “I am confident that this degree and its interdisciplinary structure will be a forerunner to future efforts by other institutions and will establish Drexel as an academic leader in the esports arena.”

While current students may have already taken courses like “The Business of Esport,” in LeBow, and “Game Design Lab,” in Westphal College, starting in the Fall 2020 term current and prospective students can declare an esport major.

“The new esports degree is a unique opportunity because it integrates courses from Drexel’s nationally recognized game design program,” said Michael Wagner, PhD, head of the Digital Media Department in Westphal College. “This will allow students not only to get hands-on insight in the development of digital games, but it will also give them the opportunity to interface with game design student teams for the purpose of developing new and innovative esports game titles.”

For more information on the esport business degree visit LeBow’s website.