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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • An instructor stands at the front of the esports laboratory giving a lecture to students.

Esports Laboratory

Esports — organized video game competitions — is one of the fastest growing segments of the sport and technological sectors. Esports is now a multi-billion dollar industry with hundreds of millions of participants and viewers around the world, including at the professional, collegiate, and scholastic levels.

The Esports Laboratory at the University of South Carolina is an innovative, transformative, and inclusive space dedicated to the advancement of esports education and research. Our facilities provide a unique learning environment that blends teaching, research, and practice to enhance the development of knowledge and best practices in esports.

As part of our mission, we provide and are engaged in the following esports services:

  • Educational services
  • Collaborative projects with industry partners
  • Community and team building
  • Multidisciplinary research studies
  • Grants and funded projects
  • Esports event planning and management

If you are interested in our services or collaborating with the team, please email Nick Watanabe, Ph.D., at

Faculty Lab Members

Research Publication Highlights

Year Author(s) Title, Publication or Publisher, DOI or Link Keywords
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in preparation Nagel, M. S., Scroggins, C., & Sugishita, K. The business of esports, Kendall Hunt Publishers  
2024 (In press) Hwang, Y., Fisackerly, W., & Heere, B. Team identification in esports: The benefits of localizing an esports team, Sport Marketing Quarterly  
2023 Ock, D., & Hwang, Y. The impacts of social needs and game playing type on esports consumers' positive eWOM sharing: Applying the FIRO theory, International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship  
2023 Xue, H., Du, J., Pizzo, A. D., Baker, B. J., Henry, T. E., Yan, G., & Watanabe, N. M. The dynamics of esports crowdfunding campaign success: A social exchange perspective, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 10.1007/s11365-023-00850-9  
2023 Hwang, Y., Watanabe, N. M., & Nagel, M. Effects of in-game brand congruity on esports consumers' implicit and explicit memory, International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 10.1123/smej.2022-0005  
2022 Newman, J. I., Xue, H., Watanabe, N. M., Yan, G., & McLeod, C. M. Gaming gone viral: An analysis of the emerging esports narrative economy, Communication & Sport, 10.1177/2167479520961036  
2021 Watanabe, N. M., Xue, H., Newman, J. I., & Yan, G. The attention economy and esports: An econometric analysis of Twitch viewership, Journal of Sport Management, 10.1123/jsm.2020-0383  
2016 Nagel, M. S., & Sugishita, K. eSports: The fastest growing segment of the 'sport' industry, Sport & Entertainment Review, 2(2), 51-60  
2015 Sugishita, K., & Nagel, M. eSports: The wave of the present and the future, Facility Manager,  

Course Offerings Related to Esports

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the business of esports. It will focus on the history of video games from creation to the present and will also cover the various business elements of the modern, competitive esports environment.

  • A student sits in front of a computer in the Esports Lab playing a video game.
  • A student sits in front of a computer in the Esports Lab playing a video game.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.