One of the world’s oldest universities, Oxford University, will offer esports courses for the first time as part of a deal with Chinese conglomerate Tencent.
Reuters reports that the courses are part of a newly announced trade deal between China’s second largest company and the government of the United Kingdom.
“The next few years offer a golden opportunity for the UK to work with companies such as Tencent to drive innovation and shape the future of global trade,” the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade Liam Fox said at a press conference yesterday.
This marks yet another avenue of global expansion for Tencent, which is the single-largest esports company on the planet. Oxford joins a number of British universities in offering esports courses, following institutions like York University and its partnership with ESL UK.
Esports is establishing a significant presence in academia across the world, with multiple colleges in the U.S. offering esports stipends and courses to its students. Additionally, courses in esports management are beginning to take shape in Europe, with French esports team Team Vitality even embedding its own players in multiple esports-related courses at the newly created Gaming Campus.
Dot Esports has reached out to Oxford for more information of what the courses introduced by Tencent will cover, but did not receive a response at the time of publishing.
Aside from providing Oxford with its unique esports curriculum, the trade deal between Tencent and the U.K. government also includes Tencent embedding itself in the U.K. fashion, film, and video game industry.
The influence of Tencent on the world of esports is impossible to ignore. Aside from owning League of Legends developer Riot Games, the company owns a majority of shares from Fortnite developer Epic Games, and holds the publishing rights to Bluehole’s Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in China.