Case Studies

Esports Feasibility Analysis and Business Plan for University


A university with nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students

The Hill Group's Role

  • Education on the evolving esports ecosystem
  • Market Research
  • Operational design and planning
  • Financial modeling


  • An objective assessment of the multi-faceted impacts of starting a new athletic program for esports
  • An in-depth understanding of the current state of K-12 and intercollegiate esports competition
  • Advice and counsel on staffing and facilities for a potential new esports arena
  • Models of revenues and expenses associated with start-up and operations of a new esports team
  • Facilitation of a decision to proceed with start-up and implementation

What was once an activity confined to individual players on isolated, home-based gaming systems has become a global and professional competitive sport in which teams of players compete for fame and fortune. The esports industry is expected to eclipse $1 billion by 2020, and global viewership, which entails spectators watching a broadcast of an esports competition or similar gaming content, already approaches 500 million people annually,[1] including a significant portion of millennials. In fact, more than 20 percent of millennials report watching esports online or through live esports tournaments.[2] According to research by Newzoo, esports is more popular than baseball and ice hockey among males age 21 to 35.[3]

A tangible example of the sport’s popularity is the video-streaming website Twitch, which was purchased by Amazon three years ago for $970 million. Twitch serves more than 50 million users who collectively watch, not play, 280 million hours of video gaming each month. Newzoo research also indicates that almost 40 percent of esports fans are female, which contradicts many stereotypes about video gaming.[4]

The explosion of esports popularity with its avid players and spectators has piqued interest among investors as a sign that esports growth promises long-term returns. Traditional investment institutions, global brands, and professional sports teams are all staking their claims in the esports market by financing teams and securing tournament sponsorships. Growing interest among younger audiences has encouraged higher education institutions to invest in this market opportunity as well. Formed only in mid-2016, the National Association of Collegiate Esports already includes 34 diverse member institutions – from major athletic powerhouse to regional liberal arts schools – who provide nearly $6 million in scholarships to esports athletes annually.

for more information, download this Esports Feasibility Brochure

[1] Elder (2016)
[2] Buckle (2016)
[3] Heuvel (2016)
[4] Casselman (2015)