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US public university to offer eSports scholarships

University of California, Irvine launching a new arena and eSports team this fall with help of iBuyPower and Riot Games

Media giants and venture capitalists aren't the only ones sold on eSports. The University of California, Irvine today announced the launch of a new eSports initiative this fall that will see the formation of an official school team, the creation of a new eSports arena in the student center, and up to 10 academic scholarships offered to promising players.

The UCI initiative is being sponsored by League of Legends developer Riot Games (based in nearby Los Angeles) and PC retailer iBuyPower, which will provide the 3,500 foot eSports arena with 80 high-end gaming PCs and software. The arena will also feature a live webcasting studio and a stage that the school has said will be used for League of Legends competitions. Riot will also "work with UCI to offer a premium League of Legends gaming experience," and UCI will field a team in the game's collegiate tournaments next year.

The school's eSports facilities will also be made available for all students to enjoy for leisure.

"UCI eSports will be built on four pillars: competition, academics, entertainment and community," said the school's vice chancellor for student affairs Thomas Parham. "We hope to attract the best gamers from around the world, and our 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."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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