Get your gaming fingers ready, Rattlers. Esports is headed to St. Mary’s University.

St. Mary’s Athletics will launch an esports program this fall, offering students the exciting opportunity to compete in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries — competitive computer gaming, Director of Athletics Robert Coleman announced today. 

St. Mary's eSports logo

St. Mary’s will be the first university in San Antonio to sponsor a varsity Esports program, which will become the Rattlers’ 12th intercollegiate sport.

“This is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, so we are extremely excited about beginning a new Esports program at St. Mary’s,” Coleman said. “Students will now be able to pursue their passion for gaming — a natural fit with the interests of our current and prospective students.”

The program will compete in the newly created Rattler Esports arena in the heart of campus. The University is renovating space with amphitheater-style seating on the second floor of the University Center to become the team’s home.

In addition to housing the varsity Esports team, the venue will provide opportunities for students to participate in competitive gaming through the intramurals program or to convene for casual gaming.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiling the arena will be held later this spring semester.

The St. Mary’s Esports program will join two esports organizations, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and Tespa. Through these organizations, student-athletes will compete online against students from other universities and colleges of all sizes in games that could include Rocket League, League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Overwatch, among others.

NACE is the leading collegiate esports governing body with more than 150 schools from across all three divisions of the NCAA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the junior-college landscape. Tespa represents a network of students, competitors and club leaders that boasts more than 270 chapters at schools across North America. Currently, esports is not a sponsored sport by the NCAA.

The Rattler team is expected to feature a roster of 20 to 25 student-athletes in Fall 2020. A wide-ranging search for a head coach will begin soon.

Worldwide interest in esports continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, with global revenues expected to have topped $1.1 billion and audiences approaching 454 million, according to Newzoo, a gaming industry analytics firm. In the United States alone, viewership is expected to hit 84 million by 2021 — surpassing that of every other traditional sport except for the NFL, according to technology consulting firm Activate.

Competitive gaming has skyrocketed in popularity with live streaming on digital platforms, such as Twitch, and through recent partnerships with traditional television networks, such as ESPN. Its popularity also stems from the opportunities that esports creates for young adults.

Students will now be able to pursue their passion for gaming

Robert Coleman, St. Mary’s University Director of Athletics

In addition to the revenue potential for individuals, competitive gaming on college campuses provides additional engagement opportunities for prospective students. Competitive gaming instills many of the lessons learned from competing in traditional sports, including discipline, preparation, strategic thinking and teamwork.

Student-athletes in the Rattler Esports program will be held to the same academic standards as their peer student-athletes who compete in NCAA-sponsored sports. Roster spots will also similarly be based on merit and talent, with tryouts held annually.

Students or prospective students who are interested in joining the Rattler Esports team can contact Director of Athletics Robert Coleman by email at or by phone at 210-436-3605. Questions can also be directed to Chad Peters, Associate Athletics Director for External Operations, by email at or by phone at 210-431-4379.

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