SUNY Canton Among First in U.S. to Launch Esports Management Degree


SUNY Canton is launching an innovative new degree program that prepares students for an esports career. 

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran announced the college has received final approval to offer a Bachelor of Business Administration in Esports Management beginning next fall. The degree is one of only a few of its kind in the nation, and it is the first in the SUNY system.

Alec Knowles prepares to broadcast a live match during the Extreme Connect Conference

Student streamer Alec K. Knowles of Parishville prepares to broadcast a live match during the Extreme Connect Conference held April in Nashville, Tenn. Knowles is currently a Graphic and Multimedia Design major who is interested in transferring into the college’s new Esports Management degree.

“Esports is unquestionably one of the fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world, and it is expected to generate close to $1.8 billion in revenue by 2022,” said Szafran. “Its popularity offers unlimited job potential for graduates who understand the technology, culture and business of the game.”

The degree, which can be earned on-campus or online, will combine components of the college’s popular Game Design and Development program with fundamental skills from the School of Business and Liberal Arts’ management programs. Students will take courses in economics, accounting, communications, marketing, finance, media studies, business law, game design, and esports event management. An internship or capstone project is also required during the final semester.

“With the addition of this program, we now offer a 360-degree view of the gaming industry, along with our four-year Game Design and Development major and esports varsity teams,” Szafran added. “Our students have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to completely immerse themselves in the field as a competitor, organizer, publicist, team leader or commentator.”

SUNY Canton student Alec Knowles, a “League of Legends” esports competitor from Parishville, is interested in joining the new program. He is one of more than 85 students who compete in eight games in the college’s 1,800 square-foot state-of-the-art competition arena, built last year. 

“As a streamer and as a player, I can see the value of enrolling in a major that focuses on the business side of the industry so I can turn my passion into a career,” he said. 

Knowles has been a live match commentator at high-profile college competitions, including an exhibition at Extreme Network’s Connect Conference in Nashville. 

“This program will give students like Alec a well-rounded understanding of the gaming world,” said Dean of the School of Business and Liberal Arts Philip T. Neisser. “They will be learning from experts in game design, finance, technology, marketing and sports management so they can hit the ground running after graduation.”

New York state ranked second in the top ten states with the most esports jobs in 2018, according to the employment website, Globally, esports jobs grew 185% in the first half of 2019. 

“Several organizations have already shown interest in serving as internship placement sites to give students the on-the-job training necessary to excel in this field,” Neisser said.

This highly anticipated major is expected to mirror the popularity of the new Game Design and Development program, which has seen a 70% enrollment increase in the past year.  

The new degree will be overseen by Curriculum Coordinator Nicholas C. Kocher, and the SUNY Canton Office of Admissions will begin accepting applications for Esports Management immediately. To apply, visit For more information, call 1-800-388-7123 or email

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.