Raising the periscope on the eSports issue means being able to examine the new developments in the landscape of this rapidly-proliferating sport. There are new developments afoot at the national and collegiate level, as well as new participation initiatives for a previously underserved demographic: women.
And for those who think it's just a passing fad, more proof is out there that eSports are here to stay. ESPN’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, ESPN+, will add League of Legends gaming competitions to its online programming this summer.
“The first competition to be streamed on the service will be the North AmericanLeague of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, which begins June 16,” according to MediaPost.com. “The North American finals will be in September, with the world championship event to be held in South Korea later in the fall.As with other sports on ESPN+, the programming will be ad-supported.”
“ESPN has been adding new sports and features to the service since its launch this spring, including announcing earlier this month that it would begin streaming UFC Fight Night,” wrote SportTechie.com’s Jen Booten. “The addition of the most popular eSports league in North America represents an effort to tap into the lucrative gaming market.”
In April, League of Legends developer Riot Games and the University of California, Berkeley, announced a new partnership launching the inaugural League of Legends Intramural eSports League this fall, plus new scholarships for students playing on the Cal eSports League of Legends competitive team.
The league will coincide with the opening of UC-Berkeley’s eSports community center, which also will spearhead a new Women in Gaming initiative led by two female gamer students. “We want to empower the current and next generations of female gamers,” Tiffy Tsay, one of the student co-leaders, said at the time of Riot partnership was announced “We’d like to encourage more female gamers to join the university’s esports community — and know they have support among like-minded students.”