MARSHALL, Mo. — You may never have heard of e-sports, but the young sport with a large – and growing – number of local ties made well over $1 billion in 2017 and is only getting bigger.

KMZU’s Rocco Scarcello spoke with Missouri Valley College’s first-ever e-sports coach, Patrick Ocampo, about the current state of the booming sport, the challenges of fielding an e-sports program, and the dynamics of e-sports recruiting as he and the Vikings head towards their inaugural season.

Click below to hear their conversation, which aired Thursday on KMZU.

Every so often, a sport will make a major change to its rules in an effort to keep up with the times. For instance, the National Football League legalized the forward pass in the early 1900s, while the three-point line wasn’t adopted by the National Basketball Association until 1979. However, one sport isn’t changing with the times, but instead is changing the entire narrative of sports – and you have a chance to be a part of it!

e-sports – or E-sports, eSports, or esports, as there is no official title yet – is defined by dictionary.com as, “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers”. However, this nearly brand-new sport (played at the high school, college and professional levels) stems back to arcade game competitions, which were made popular in the 1970s and 80s. Just like vinyl albums and Polaroid pictures, the reincarnation of a golden age staple has reached Missouri’s high school and college students.

Just four years after Robert Morris University announced they would field the first-ever varsity, scholarship-backed collegiate e-sports program, the sport has ballooned to over 60 varsity programs, according to ESPN. Of those schools, 10 are from Missouri.

For more information on how to become a collegiate e-sports athlete, contact one of the various area e-sports collegiate programs.