Riot Games Launches University League of Legends to Develop College eSports
Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, recently announced that it has a created a program called uLOL which stands for University League of Legends. In case you don’t know what League of Legends is, it’s arguably the most popular game in the world and is estimated that last year it generated more than 1.6 million in revenue and is considered one of the fastest growing eSports online.
As you can imagine League of Legends amongst college gamers has a huge following and it’s no wonder that by the start of 2016 six different private schools in the USA have now developed scholarships based around the game. Sean Haran, Director of Business Development and Publishing at Riot Games, says that uLOL is designed with college players and communities in mind.
uLoL was developed because of the requests Riot was receiving from college clubs in regards to assistance with making college tournaments more official and formal. According to Haran uLOL was not about creating the most competitive eSports league but more about maintaining authenticity and giving college kids a chance to express themselves and form communities.
It should come as no surprise however that Riot Games would be actively searching for new ways to bring players to into their game and at the same time increasing the revenue from their game. The development of eSports as an industry is also important for Riot’s future if it is to compete and be taken seriously against well established and long-running sports scholarship programs like Basketball and Football.
The uLOL Campus Series was formed after the two successful years of the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC) and is now a tournament that is run all year round. Out of 500 schools 32 will eventually qualify for the 2016 Campus series event where teams will play off for the chance to win scholarship money.
For the first time ever fans and players around the world will be able to watch the best collegiate League of Legends teams in the U.S. and Canada battle it out each week. With 18 broadcasted matches this season, there’s never been a more exciting time to get involved. The broadcasting of eSports and League of Legends will only further develop eSports and attract new players the games.
Universities have also caught onto the number of students that identify as a “Gamer” too and a recent survey that highlighted that out of 1200 respondents a massive 72% identified as a Gamer. The University of California already has over 2000 members in its club and was one of the first announce publicly that it would be launching a League of Legends scholarship program. Since then Chicago’s Robert Morris University has introduced scholarships for five games including League of Legends.
Not only can teams compete for $100,000 in scholarships provided by Riot Games, Robert Morris University are also offering tuition scholarships. Players can earn up to 50% tuition and another 50% towards room and board.
Similar to other established sports with large colleague leagues, such as Football, uLOL will help develop and mature players using professional programs and tournaments and provide aspiring gamers with pathways to become professional players. ULoL has 300 clubs in North America, and it’s growing every day.
The truth is that if you’ve ever wanted to be a pro gamer or at least have the opportunity to develop into one then the time has never been better. 10 years ago a career in gaming was merely a dream for most but as online gaming grows and now that US government has recognised eSports players as professional athletes Universities around the world will begin to see gaming as a legitimate career path for their students.
Jayden is an experience League of Legends Player and when he’s not playing LOL he spends his time running AussyELO a marketplace for players to buy LoL Accounts to practice and develop their play style and experience.