eSports sparking entrepreneurship and scholarship opportunities in central Ohio

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Headphones and keyboards may be the only tools needed for the newest college level sport. It's called eSports, competitive video gaming.

"Just like you can watch the MBA or professional football, you can watch professional video gamers where they play against each other in competitive video games," said Justin Kogge, owner of Game Arena, Hilliard's newest eSports arena.

Several Ohio colleges and universities, including OSU, Miami, Tiffin, Lourdes and Ashland Universities are starting athletic programs in eSports. Students are recruited for teams and scholarships much like physical sports.

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"Your GPA still comes into effect just like others, but what it really takes is to get into the top one percent of a video game to really showcase to these newly hired eSports coaches that you are worthy of a scholarship," said Kogge.

Scholarships can pay up to several thousand dollars per year for a student to attend and play at the college level.

"I think it's cool," said Michael Gehring, a 7th grader who was playing at Game Arena Tuesday. "A lot of times you don't enjoy math or things like that but you probably enjoy video games."

Kogge says it takes quick reflexes and good decision making to win an eSports competition -- both characteristics that could benefit a child in the long run.

"You don't have to be athletic to do it and you can still be good at something and get a college scholarship," said Ian Greene, also a 7th grader who plays.

First place prize in national competitions are hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings.