Robert Morris University (RMU) is a collegiate name synonymous with the birth of scholarship esports in the USA. Most people fail to realize, however, that there are two Robert Morris University’s in the country. One is located in Chicago, Illinois, while the other is located just outside of Pittsburgh in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Both are famous for different, but related, reasons.
Robert Morris University-Pittsburgh boasts one of the earliest Sport Management degree programs in the nation. Its connection to the traditional sports industry is legion. Its graduates hold serious positions of responsibilities cross the sports spectrum. RMU-Pittsburgh is also renowned for its annual Sports Management Conference that attracts hundreds of students from over 30 colleges and universities, in addition to over 80 sports industry professionals, and which occurred October 12, 2018, in Pittsburgh.
This was the second year the conference featured a panel on esports. The panel was moderated by Inven Global Director of Innovation, Don Marinelli, and featured: Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, based in Kansas City, Missouri; Rob Lee, CEO of the Pittsburgh Knights professional esports team; and Kurt Melcher, Executive Director of Esports for Intersport, the Chicago-based sports and entertainment company, as well as Executive Director and Founder of Robert Morris University-Chicago Esports.
The palpable energy throughout the conference was the growing interest in esports among sport management academic degree programs. This interest extended well beyond professional playing into esports team management, production, streaming, broadcasting, and event and facility management.
The big news coming out of this conference was Robert Morris University-Pittsburgh decision to pursue esports as a varsity sport initiative in the coming year. RMU-Pittsburgh will have some catching up to do with RMU-Chicago, but the sheer prospect of the two RMU’s fighting it out on Summoner’s Rift in the near future is something worth waiting for!