ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - St. Cloud State University has a new face on campus.
Chase Neukam has started his job as the SCSU Esports Director.

Neukam graduated from Ball State University in 2018. While at Ball State, he helped establish Cardinal Esports, which grew into an organization boasting eight teams and over 300 students. In 2019, Neukam was named the Director of Esports and Esports coach at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

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Neukam also helped build Paradigm, a virtual reality Esports arena in Davenport.
One of his first priorities is to educate the public about the long-term viability of e-sports. He says e-sports is a legitimate pursuit.

In the 20s and 30s, someone would have said the same thing about baseball; that's just a pastime, and you're not going to get a career or a future in this. You're just playing a game! But now, the sports industry is one of the leading industries in the world. It brings in billions of dollars every year, and that’s the trajectory we're seeing Esports go down.

Neukam is involved in many aspects of the growing business of Esports. He’s been flown to different parts of the country to serve as a commentator or manager of several national Esports events. He plans to build that same success at SCSU, hosting in-person tournaments on campus and throughout the area.

Ideally, it's on-site, it's just like traditional sports in the sense that you want to get that full experience when you're going to an Esports event. And that's very hard to capture online, you're less likely to interact with other folks in that environment. So I've always preferred having in-person tournaments, but that's not to say you can't have online qualifiers to complement that main event.

E-sports are expanding the academic offerings at SCSU, and are developing an e-sports management minor. In addition, a new Esports lounge and Esports arena have been built on campus.




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