UC Irvine To Build Arena, Webcasting Studio For E-Sports Initiative

Thursday, Apr 07, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • The University of California, Irvine will launch a new e-sports program this fall, complete with scholarships for student “athletes,” a new state-of-the-art arena, and a live webcasting studio to broadcast competitions.
  • University Business reports 72% of UC Irvine students identify as gamers and the Association of Gamers draws more members than any other club on campus, making the institution fertile ground for the nation’s first such official sports team at a public research university.
  • The university hopes to draw the best gamers in the world and expects programs in computer gaming science, digital arts, computer science, engineering, and other fields will offer opportunities for academic research and inquiry related to gaming.

Dive Insight:

UC Irvine is launching a new e-sports league at a time when traditional athletics is being criticized for the money it takes away from academics and the negative impact it has on learning opportunities for student athletes. The investment in the gaming arena, which will be available to students outside of the team, also comes at a time when public institutions are being criticized for building things like rock climbing walls and lazy rivers to attract students. Opponents of such spending say they do nothing more than increase the overall cost of college. The problem, of course, is that the higher education market is increasingly competitive. Unless all schools committed to going back to the basics, those who tried would be left behind in the amenities arms race.


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