14 September 2016 - 21:57

UC Irvine Creates First Public College Esports Arena in the US

One of California's most well-known universities has announced the addition of their own esports arena.

The University of California at Irvine has announced that they have just finished building their own 3,500 square feet college esports arena that they plan to open on Friday, Sept. 23. The arena will contain 80 gaming PCs with the most played esports games already installed, its own webcasting studio, as well as viewing screens.

Mark Deppe, UCI's acting director of esports, had the following to say about the new arena: "I think esports is the future of competition. Period. It transcends language, geography, race, age, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability and many other identities. In five years, many more schools will have official programs and more structure will be in place to regulate and provide guidance to schools. I think esports also have a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and shortcomings of traditional sports and provide a model for collegiate competition in the 21st century."


The University spent $250,000 to build the arena and plans to charge students $4 per hour. UCI also hopes that the revenue from this hourly charge will cover the arena's administrative costs. In terms of staff, the arena will have 25 student staff members, and they also plan to offer opportunities for other students to volunteer as coaches, analysts, streamers and producers.

UCI's arena is also sponsored by iBUYPOWER, which has provided the computers for the arena, as well as Riot Games. As part of its esports program, the University will also be offering 10 scholarships, valued at $15,000 each, to its competitive League of Legends team.

The Heroes of the Storm's college tournament will offer free tuition to winners, while the League of Legends North American collegiate championship will give $30,000 to each first place winner and $15,000 each for second place. 

Deppe has also said that nobody resisted the university's adventure into esports and students have also been overwhelmingly supportive.

"Many of them are gamers themselves, and those that aren't know lots of gamers and how important video games are to the campus community," Deppe says.
UCI has also partnered with Anykey.org, a company which aims to "provide competitive gamers with resources, support and opportunities" to help create the arena rules and scholarship agreements. 

What do you think about the future of esports at colleges throught the US? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom
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