The University of California, Irvine is getting into eSports in a big way after finishing construction on a 3,500 sq ft eSports arena. Due to open on Friday, 23rd September the arena includes 80 gaming PC’s, a webcasting studio and viewing screens at a cost of $250,000.
The gaming rigs are being provided by iBUYPOWER, who along with Riot Games is backing the arena.
The plan is for the eSports arena to be cost neutral by being open to the public and students for $4 per hour which will cover administration costs for the venue.
The University isn’t just in this for the gaming either as UCI is offering 10 scholarships valued at $15,000 each to its competitive League of Legends players. Plus, any of UCI’s competitive players get to keep any earnings from competitions which is a better deal than the NCAA offers.
UCI’s acting director of eSports Mark Deppe says
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 official programs and more structure will be in place to regulate and provide guidance to schools. I think eSports also has a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and shortcomings of traditional sports and provide a model for collegiate competition in the 21st century.
— UC Irvine (@UCIrvine) August 19, 2016
Grand Opening Schedule
- Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
6-10 pm Festivities:
- On the Terrace Stage
- League of Legends Activities & Games (Trivia, Charades etc.)
- Celebrity/Pro Gamers Panel and Meet & Greet
- Meet Our Overwatch Team
- League of Legends (ARAM)
- Overwatch matches
- Hearthstone matches
- Super Smash Brothers Meele & 4
- Get a Tour
- Pick up free swag