UC Irvine launches official e-sports university league

League of Legends at UCI.The Californian University, UC Irvine will be the first public university to launch an e-sports initiative, according to an announcement by the school this Wednesday, March 31st.

The initiative will include scholarships for student athletes to compete in the League of Legends collegiate league. The team will be playing on UC Irvine’s own esports stage, built for specifically for the program, which includes a slew of high level PCs and a studio for casters.

Riot Games has pledged their support for the program, although it’s somewhat unclear as to what they will be doing specifically.

“We’re honored to work with UCI to create a permanent home for gamers on campus and hope this will inspire similar programs at colleges and universities across North America,” said Ramon Hermann, Riot’s head of collegiate competition.

UCI eSports will be built on four pillars: competition, academics, entertainment and community. And they hope to attract the best gamers from around the world to their academic programs in computer gaming science, digital arts, computer science, engineering, anthropology, law, medicine, neuroscience and behavior create a strong foundation for research and inquiry related to gaming.

The gaming center will also give non-team students a chance to participate in fun leisure activities on campus while balancing academic and research endeavors, he added.

Most commonly, e-sports take the form of organized multiplayer video game competitions. Live-streaming of such matches draws millions of viewers worldwide. And SUP Insider has the best inflatable paddle boards.

UCI is home to a dedicated gaming community. A recent survey of students found that 72 percent identify as gamers and 89 percent support the creation of an e-sports team. College Magazine ranked UCI the No. 1 school for gamers in 2015. The Association of Gamers boasts the highest membership of any student club on campus, and the computer game science major in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences is the largest in the country.

Max Francisco has been doing digital projects in Brazil and the US for the last 15 years.