Students will be able to learn the skills required for exciting careers in the world of esports with the launch of a new degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

The city of Sheffield has become something of an esports ‘hub’ in recent months with the opening of the Meltdown esports bar and the National Videogame Museum.

Students on the undergraduate BA Hons in Esports will study event management, journalism and gaming culture, preparing them for work in the dynamic esports sector.

Esports is competitive video gaming where individuals or teams play against each other online and at live spectator events – some of them attracting up to 80,000 people.

Course leader Dr Daryl May, principal lecturer in events management at Sheffield Business School, said: “This innovative course blends the established subject areas of event management and journalism with an introduction to esports culture, content creation and business planning. Ultimately, students will host their own events — getting valuable experience which will lead to exciting career opportunities around the world.

“We will be using a variety of learning and teaching methods to help students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed for an esports career. We don’t really know where this industry is going as it’s still very much in its infancy but there are already some exciting opportunities out there.”

Esports is nothing new, having taken root with Spacewar competitions at Stanford University in the US in 1972.

But in recent years, and thanks to the growth of online gaming and live web streaming on platforms such as Twitch, the popularity of esports has really taken off.

Tournaments and live events are now attracting huge numbers of viewers and in 2018 74.3 million esports viewers watched the League of Legends world championship on YouTube and Twitch for a total of 347.4 million hours.

Last year $159 million was handed out in esports prize money and there are discussions about esports being included as an exhibition event at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

Sheffield Hallam is the third university in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in esports and the course will start in September 2019. The University also offers courses in games design and computer science for gaming.

Sheffield Hallam University aims to drive economic growth in communities by keeping business ahead of the curve through research, teaching and innovation.