Yahoo, Riot Games to bring eSports to colleges with inaugural campus tournament
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On Monday, Yahoo announced a partnership with Riot Games, a developer and publisher of video games including League of Legends, to give fans uL0L Rivalries by Yahoo eSports.
The 10-team inaugural tournament, which kicks off November 4, will bring together some of the biggest rivalries in collegiate sports over a five-week span. University League of Legends is a student-run network of clubs across the United States and Canada, which Riot Games is continuously trying to grow.
Fans can now vote from 12 rivalries — such as Michigan-Ohio State and Duke-Kentucky — and narrow it to five by October 10. Yahoo eSports and uLoL will work in tandem to both produce and cover the events later this Fall.
“The uLoL Rivalries series will enable players and fans to engage with unique League coverage, media personalities and advertising sponsors, both online and in-person on campus,” said Zachary John, Vice President of Yahoo Video and Esports. “uLoL Rivalries by Yahoo Esports represents a new opportunity for advertisers to reach a young, dedicated audience of Esports fans through unique sponsorships.”
According to John, through uLol Rivalries, advertisers will have an opportunity to reach a unique millennial and collegiate audience with various video series integrations and branded segments within the live streams.
With the new partnership, it will be interesting to see if there is a steady progression of more student-run eSports clubs springing up on college campuses, with the notion that there may be similar opportunities to formally compete against other schools.
Additionally, will bigger universities and colleges expand the scope of their scholarships to eSports players? In 2014, Robert Morris University in Chicago became the first school to offer partial scholarships to League of Legends players. Last Fall, the University of Pikeville in Kentucky opened 20 scholarships for League of Legends competitors while Southwestern University and Maryville University in St. Louis have also recently announced eSports programs.