Stephen F. Austin State University works to make East Texas a hub for online gaming with rise in esports club


NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – Playing video games has become not just a hobby to do in the free time, but a way to get paid.

Increasingly, many people are getting paid to play video games competitively through electronic sports (esports) and are one of the fastest and most promising industries in the world.

According to, in 2019, NewZoo estimated the total revenue of the esports market would cross $1.1 billion. The market saw immense growth going into 2020 with a 15% rise on the previous year.

Some professional Esports players have made millions in tournaments and advertising.

One club at Stephen F. Austin State University has been trying to make East Texas an esports hub.

In February 2020, Lumberjack Esports started and has since grown by hundreds of members becoming one of the biggest clubs on the campus.

“We’ve got around 600 community members,” said David Dickert, the esports head coach. “90% of them are students.”

SFA even created a room for the club called the esports lab. The lab features high-end computers, high-speed internet, and gaming chairs for 10 or more players to practice at once.

“We have about 115 competitive players competing across 22 teams with 15 different teams,” Dickert said. “Right now we are looking at institutionalizing Esports to make it available to everyone on campus at an elevated level.”

The club has already competed with other schools in many different games.

“Most people think that sports and esports are different, but they’re actually very similar because not only do you have to keep a rigorous practice time to improve,” Damien Zamora, a player said. “We also have to manage mental health and physical health because if you don’t have good preparations and you go unprepared that’s true for both aspects.”

Other Texas colleges with esports teams include:

  • Sam Houston
  • UT Tyler
  • UT Austin
  • University of Houston

Most of the colleges have had matches against the Lumberjack esports club in the fall 2021 semester. The players in the club hope to establish SFA as a major player within the collegiate esports scene and to earn more support from the university to represent the school as well as they can.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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