Teenagers around the globe can now rejoice in having a legitimate excuse to throw back at their parents every time they’re asked to put down that useless video game! And for parents, forget about the endless hours of driving your kids to soccer or rugby practice in hopes they land an athletics scholarship, there’s a perfectly reasonable alternative sitting at home.
That’s right, video games can now get you a free ride to your degree of choice.
It’s hard to fathom that someone’s passion for playing video games can lead to a full scholarship at a growing number of pristine universities, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Colleges and universities from all over the United States are adding eSports to their list of intercollegiate athletic programs.
This recent fall semester we saw University of California offer eSports scholarship opportunities. This is the first time a major, public university in the United States has offered eSports scholarships to players.
Riot Games, creators of League of Legends, have embraced the move by funding a new PC Cafe, located directly on campus and accessible to all students.
University of California joins other noteworthy colleges, such as the recent addition of Midland University, as well as Columbia College, Robert Morris University, the University of Maryville, and the University of Pikeville.
eSports growing success at the collegiate level is a largely untapped market globally. As prize pools typically surpass $1 million, colleges and universities are also seeing the potential for return growth.
We’re now beginning to see signs of that growth expanding to markets close to home. This past summer, Riot Games announced their flagship League of Legends game will now be officially included in the Unigames, Australia’s largest sporting event for college students.
Managed by Australian University Sport (AUS), the governing body of a large envelope of university sports in Australia, Unigames attracts more than 15,000 student-athletes from tertiary institutions located throughout the region. Any university students from the Oceanic region are allowed to participate in the event.
The four stage event will culminate at this year’s Australian University Games, which will be held at Perth this coming September, between the 25th and the 30th.
The top two team from Nationals, Queensland University and University of Canterbury, will receive 6,000 RP (per player), a mini event at the university they attend thrown by Riot Games themselves, and flights to the Unigames event in Perth.
Fore more information, or to register a club for your own school, Riot Games has created a website specifically for this event.