Before the Oregon Ducks and the Boise State Broncos throw down in the Las Vegas Bowl tomorrow afternoon, their League of Legends teams will face off in a best-of-three tonight at 9pm ET, according ESPN’s report yesterday.
It will be the first time that two college esports teams from the NCAA’s Division I FBS league will play in conjunction with a football bowl game, and a momentous step in bringing together the esports and traditional sports communities. This best-of-three series isn’t part of another league or competition, either, it was set up specifically for this bowl game.
“It seemed just for me and us a no-brainer,” Boise State director of esports Chris Haskell said. “When people connect with their tribes, it doesn’t matter what the competition is. They want to be on the right side of the win, even if they don’t understand what a gank is.”
Although the idea was thought up too late to arrange travel for both teams to meet one another for a LAN competition, they are both hoping that their regional rivalry and bowl game hype will boost the viewer count of the series.
Not only is this the first time esports and college football have worked together at a bowl game, it may also serve as a precedent for more college-sanctioned esports events and leagues.
This year, Boise State in particular has been a driving force for college esports. A few months ago, the college started its official varsity esports program, complete with its own computer lab facility built as an esports arena.
Between this and the Golden State Warriors introducing its NA LCS team, the Golden Guardians, to the home crowd at Oracle Arena last night, it’s clear more and more traditional sports organizations are willing to get behind the rising esports industry.