> UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

TO ENGAGE WITH OUR COMMUNITY OF STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WITH GAMING AND ESPORTS TOPICS WHILE PROMOTING EDUCATION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT IN THIS SPACE

As is common with many of the great things that universities do, it all started with the students. The UK Esports Club was organized around 2017 by students that were interested in growing the community and helping different clubs that were focused on individual games to pool their resources and better leverage their resources. The club has developed a great community – they compete actively in a wide variety of games and they have developed an active Discord.

Against this backdrop, UK spent 12 months (late 2018 – fall 2019) researching and learning more about the esports landscape. More than 200 colleges and universities across the United States currently have implemented some level of committed esports student programming, classroom learning, competitive gameplay, and more than $15 million in scholarship investment focused on the most popular esports games. These
numbers continue to rise annually.

Early on in the learning process, the University of Kentucky has leaned heavily on one of our key campus partners – JMI Sports (UK’s media rights holder for Athletic and Campus Marketing Rights) – to identify industry leaders in the esports space that the University can collaborate with to more aggressively achieve the goals laid out above. After detailed dialog and research, the University and JMI formed a partnership with Gen.G, the only leading esports organization that owns and operates top teams in the world’s three most important gaming markets — China, South Korea, and the U.S.

Among the world’s leading esports organizations, Gen.G stands out for its trailblazing advocacy of the community values that form the core of UK’s vision. Namely, Gen.G has pioneered: (1) diversity through its #TeamBumble platform for the empowerment of women in gaming, featuring the world’s best all-female Fortnite team; (2) academic advancement through its international Gen.G Elite Esports Academy; and (3) talent development through its historic partnership with the NBA 2K League and its player wellness platform.

  •  Gen.G is the only major esports organization that owns and operates top teams in the world’s leading esports markets — China, South Korea and the United States.
  • Gen.G’s core mission is to help fans and athletes use the power of gaming and esports to get ahead in and beyond the competition.

CREATE

  • UK students can work with us to create streams on the UK Twitch channel based on topics that they are interested in
  • UK students can be a part of programming and events that UK and Gen.G put on – participate as a caster, behind the scenes in production, etc. Recent examples include:
  • Hoops at Home – Annual NBA2K tournament with 64 participants across brackets for current students, future students, alumni, and Big Blue Nation; the 2nd annual Hoops at Home event ran from April 9-11 2021.
  • Give Health – we partnered with the UK Children’s Hospital to raise money through a week of nightly streams. Generated around $20,000 in funds that went directly to the hospital’s mission.
  • Virtual Governor’s Cup – since the 2020 football rivalry between UK and Louisville couldn’t be played, we put on a virtual event pitting the rival schools in a few different Esports titles during the week. It was a fun time – Louisville won the inaugural championship in 2020.
  • Cornerstone Commentary – monthly stream where we bring on leaders around the gaming industry (including academic professionals that have diverse perspectives) to talk about the industry as a whole and how it is developing.
  • Coffee and Consoles – A daily morning stream (8-10am ET) of console games led by Media Arts. More programming is being developed, and we are excited to invite students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to bring ideas for new content as we grow our partnerships and emphasize the importance of community through gaming.

COMPETE
UK students can join the UK Esports Club and participate/play with the game/team that they want to join UK students can work with current teams to provide coaching if there is a good fit UK students can organize teams within the UK Esports Club UK students can organize esports tournament events that they would like to hold at the UKFCU Esports space

COMMUNITY
We are excited about the open of The Cornerstone space on campus. This space will serve as gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further link the university with the city of Lexington. The Cornerstone houses the new UK Federal Credit Union Esports Lounge, a gaming space that has been designed to invite UK students, campus
constituents, and community visitors into the campus to experience PC gaming on high-end gaming machines in a comfortable and welcoming environment.

  • 4,500 sq ft space
  • 100 seats on retractable risers for tournaments and classes
  • Esports gamers lounge will include at least 50 PC-based gaming units and multiple console-play areas
  • Team rooms where UK Esports Club teams can practice and sharpen their skills

As opportunities to be back in-person continue to increase in the future, we look forward to having the UKFCU Esports Lounge as a place that welcomes current students, prospective students, and people from across the community to come and gain gaming experiences that will serve to broaden their personal relationships.

UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY

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