SUNY Kicks Off Spring 2022 Esports Season Building on Unprecedented Fall 2021 Growth in the League

February 18, 2022

SUNY Esports Participation Rises to Nearly 2,200 Students and 50 Participating SUNY Campuses

Esports Offer Inclusive, Positive Community Engagement for Students

Albany, NY – After an exciting and successful close to the Fall 2021 Esports season, SUNY kicked off the Spring 2022 season by building on unprecedented growth in the SUNY league. Nearly 2,200 students, up from 2,077, enrolled in a Spring 2022 Esports league across 50 campuses.

"The SUNY Esports League maintains popularity due to how accessible esports and gaming are for collegiate players at all athletic abilities. As the fastest growing entertainment industry in the world, esports provide a sense of community and keep students engaged outside the confines of the physical classroom," said Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. "I look forward to witnessing the continuous growth of our SUNY Esports league and the clear commitment to enriching our students' college experiences."

Esports offer inclusive, positive community engagement for students. A post-Fall 2021 survey conducted by the SUNY Esports League reported that students rated SUNY Esports 4.5 out of 5 stars for enjoyment, with 81 percent of athletes indicating they would recommend esports to a friend. For a list of all participating campuses, click here.

Buffalo State College sophomore KJ Zielezinski said, "Esports has been a passion of mine since I was in middle school. The community that we have here at Buffalo State is really one of a kind. We're all committed to the same goal: growing the program into something big. Esports simply affords me the opportunity to play videogames and make friends."

Buffalo State College sophomore Sam Hellert said, "Esports and Buffalo State allow me to find new friends and ways to overcome social anxiety through competition and commentating. Competition has taught me how to succeed and win, no matter what the circumstances are."

Buffalo State College junior Olivia Evans said, "Esports allowed me to make connections with people who shared my greatest passion. We get the opportunity to play with likeminded students who understand us—plus, you end up gaming with friends who can carry you."

Buffalo State College junior Zach Dulko said, "I participate in esports because it's an experience that I would not normally get. I've stayed in the program for three seasons now because I have fun every game and have met many good friends because of it."

SUNY Empire Esports Coordinator Jennifer Hookway said, "The majority of SUNY Empire Esports athletes are online learners, and esports may be the only aspect of a traditional "campus life" these students have. They connect with one another in ways that a virtual classroom just doesn't allow for—folks who don't even play the same games use our Discord to discuss classes, life outside of school, and start new hobbies with the encouragement of their new friends. Esports bring a sense of collegiate community, pride, and identity to online students that they might not otherwise experience."

SUNY Empire junior Yvonne B. said, "As an online student, the Esports Team has given me the chance to feel like I'm really part of the school and not just taking classes online. It's given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people, create new friendships, and find support not only in gaming but academically and personally, as well. It gives online students the chance to be involved in campus life from wherever they are."

SUNY Empire junior Sam Hackborn said, "I truly underestimated how much the Empire State College Esports team could mean to me, but it has been a completely open place where artists like myself have been encouraged by others to enhance our talents. I not only have made lifelong friends—primarily at an online school—but have also been able to understand what it means to be a part of a team."

SUNY Sullivan Esports Coordinator Emily Oeser said, "Students are playing videogames whether they are on a team or not, so why not give them a unique space to show off their skills? Esports fits that niche for students who don't feel they fit in other traditional sports."

SUNY Sullivan freshman Abigail Jacobson said, "When I arrived at SUNY Sullivan for orientation, I came across the esports table and joined right then and there. From then on, it's been amazing. Watching our teams compete, cheering them on, and just being able to play videogames with my new friends is an unforgettable experience."

With esports and gaming at the forefront of popular culture, the global esports market hit over $1.08 billion, an almost 50 percent increase from the previous year. According to Newzoo—a network for game market insights and analytics—the esports industry's global market revenue is predicted to reach $1.62 billion in 2024. As of 2021, the worldwide esports audience size reached 474 million people, which is expected to grow to over 577 million viewers by 2024.

To streamline SUNY campus and student participation and acknowledge the growth of esports, SUNY partnered with LeagueSpot, an esports tournament engine that offers accessible information regarding competition rankings and results. LeagueSpot recorded 1,273 scheduled matches during the Fall 2021 season.

Extreme Networks is the SUNY Esports League's senior-most partner and has previously been named the Official Networking Provider of SUNY-wide esports programs and arenas.

About Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks, Inc. (EXTR) creates effortless networking experiences that enable all of us to advance. We push the boundaries of technology, leveraging the powers of machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, and automation. Over 50,000 customers globally trust our end-to-end, cloud-driven networking solutions and rely on our top-rated services and support to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver progress like never before. For more information, visit Extreme's website at https://www.extremenetworks.com/ or follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit suny.edu.


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