Video Games becoming University-Approved Sports

In an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ellen Wexler details the development of Video Games becoming University-approved sports. Games such as League of Legends, Super Smash Bros., and many others are becoming University-approved sports at a multitude of Universities. The University of Cincinnati hosted a two-day tournament held by the League of Legends club and teams all across the country competed. This event gained 14,000 watchers online, making it one of the largest collegiate e-sports events.

Computer gaming competitions are becoming much more mainstream. Games such as League of Legends have a Championship series that boast a two million dollar prize pool. Locally, Dota2 recently had their World Championship, hosted in Seattle, WA. This event boasted a near ten million dollar prize pool. These competitions are hosted and sponsored by leading technology companies such as Dell, Intel, HyperX, Razer, and so much more.

League of Legends already has its own collegiate competition hosted by the founding company, Riot Games. Colleges have the opportunity to select one team from the University to compete for the National Collegiate competition.

However, e-sports wasn’t always the norm, many administrators were skeptical, but because of the widespread audience, the League of Legends club was made into an official club sport at the University of Cincinnati. How did they get this approved by the University? They argued that the U.S. Government allows professional video gamers to use “athlete visa” to travel internationally. These events just like any other sport have rules, regulations, prizes – all of which are very similar to sports such as football or baseball.

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