Esports is big business and Ball State University is upping its game to prepare the esports workforce of the future. A new, state-of-the-art esports center has opened on the Muncie campus and the university recently rolled out a new program specifically designed for students interested in careers in esports. Dr. Paaige Turner, dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media at Ball State, says the efforts are part of many changes at the school.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Turner said esports has become “today’s sport.”

“When we think about sports and the sports economy and the reputation that Indiana has in the sports industry, we want to help Indiana own that and that means being part of community play,” said Turner. “We have Muncie Community Schools come in and they get to play in the facility. We have club sports; we have over 700 members who are part of our club sports just for entertainment. We have varsity competition play.”

Turner says the university also has an area where students learn how to do a live esports productions. However, she says the university isn’t stopping there when it comes to esports.

“Ball State University understands that esports is a broader industry. So, we’re working with the Miller College of Business on finance in the esports industry, with the College of Health on health and psychology around esports. So, we have people coming in to train and work with our esports varsity team members to help them get their mental game in shape and perform better that way as well.”

Among the other changes at the CCIM are name changes for two of its departments. The Department of Journalism has rebranded to the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication. Additionally, the Department of Telecommunications has changed its name to the Department of Media.

Turner adds public media has become an important part of the CCIM umbrella.

“We are going to partner with our student media, our educational experiences in public media, to make sure that we are delivering information, stories, entertainment that our community needs, as well as providing students with the best educational experience possible,” she said.