USF gets into the game of e-sports

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You may think video games are just for fun, but now e-sports are turning into big competition and big business.

Jordan Barnwell is at USF working on a master's degree in sport and entertainment management. He's looking forward to a career in e-sports. 

"It's super exciting. Opportunities are coming about that I wouldn't have thought of the day before," said the 25-year-old from Spring Hill.

E-sports arenas are popping up in many cities, including Orlando, where Full Sail University recently opened one. Now there are signs the trend could come to Tampa.

"We like to refer to it as the wild, wild west, and USF is the wild west on fire," said Dr. Michelle Harrolle, soon to be the director of the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program at USF.

She's helping organize an e-sports summit at USF.  It will be held September 18 at the Marshall Center.

A company called Digital Gaming Hub has announced plans for a facility in the Uptown development on the site of the former University Mall. 

Harrolle says the Tampa Bay Lightning and related companies are looking at e-sports and Lighting owner Jeff Vinik will speak at the e-sports summit at USF in September.

"You're having that crossover between electronic gaming, e-sports and traditional sports," said Harrolle, who is also planning to write a book on e-sports.

A handful of universities are even giving scholarships for gaming. Barnwell says he's a good player, but he plans to be even better at the business of gaming.