Initiative to Be Unveiled at USC’s Conquest Rally/UCLA League of Legends Exhibition Match on Thursday, November 15.

(LOS ANGELES, CA) – USC Games, a collaboration between the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, has established the USC Esports Union (ESU), a cross-campus, multi-school collegiate Esports program, it was announced by the Dean of USC Cinematic Arts, Elizabeth Daley and Chair of its Interactive Media & Games Division, Danny Bilson.

Led by USC Games, the #1 game design program in North America, USC’s ESU unites students from the School of Cinematic Arts, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Annenberg School of Communications, the Keck School of Medicine, as well as many other schools and departments, to build and support on-campus Esports groups with the resources and support necessary to successfully build clubs and teams around their favorite games.

“Esports is an exciting, growing industry both at the professional and collegiate level,” said Dean Elizabeth Daley. “The School of Cinema is proud and honored to lead USC’s Esports initiative and we’re focused on working together with passionate Trojans—students and alumni, from across and outside of campus—to build it into a world-class organization.”

USC Games’ overarching vision is to make playing games a central part of student life by supporting both the social and competitive aspects of gaming. As individual titles secure a large enough following, the USC Games’ ESU will develop clubs and teams that focus on them, with support from and sanctioned by the university and publishers. The ESU then coordinates those organizations, sharing staff, resources, space, and equipment between games and their Social Club and Competitive Varsity components.

The comprehensive Esports initiative will include curriculum featuring industry-sponsored courses teaching the design, development, promotion, management, marketing, and measurement of Esports; collegiate conferences and summits to encourage diversity and engaging with future leaders in the gaming space; scholarships and financial support for competitive players as they explore professional opportunities in the gaming industry; and an inviting physical gaming space where fans and players can interact, compete, and socialize.

“We’ve been deliberate and thoughtful in our approach to Esports", said Danny Bilson, Chair of IMGD and Director of USC Games. “It is important for us to not simply launch a group of teams, but to ensure that we are building a dynamic support program around them. Esports is yet another access point to engage our students in the constantly evolving game industry."

As part of that focus, USC’s ESU is supporting a handful of games over the next few years, with League of Legends as their inaugural title. League was created and published by Riot Games, founded by USC alumni Brendon Beck and Marc Merrill, and is a powerhouse in professional and collegiate Esports.

“We aspire for League of Legends to be a global sport that lasts for generations, and we're thrilled to see our Alma Mater, a school right in our backyard, join us in making that mission a reality.” Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck, co-founders at Riot Games

USC Games’ ESU will be unveiled publicly on campus for the first time on Thursday, November 15th, at the annual USC Conquest Event. Conquest is a multi-day school spirit event that USC holds to promote and celebrate its cross-town rivalry with UCLA prior to the USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins’ football game on USC’s campus that Saturday, November 17th.

“USC Conquest is such a massive on-campus school spirit event that it made sense to be the venue for USC ESU announcement,” said USC Esports Union Founder and Student Director, Keanu Concepcion, a graduating senior. “It’s been an amazing experience working with the faculty and students from across campus to launch it and lay out our slate of Esport games through 2021.”

As part of Conquest’s Esports specific programming on November 15, USC will announce the school’s first official League of Legends Trojans team roster, who will then face off in a live League Exhibition Match against UCLA’s Bruins at the rally and who will compete in Riot’s official Spring 2019 competitive College League. Conquest will also feature an Esports pavilion, featuring several League as well as several other games, tournaments with prizes, cosplayers, giveaways, pro-Esports team support, and themed gaming step-and-repeats.

Recognized as the #1 game design program in North America by the Princeton Review, USC Games represents an exciting collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. Incorporating elements of design, artistry, production and engineering, USC Games offers an utterly unique educational experience for students and serves as the launching pad for them to play significant roles in the game design field. With rigorous, hands-on instruction from master designers, producers, engineers and working professionals in the industry, students have an unprecedented level of opportunity to delve into every aspect of creating games for a global audience.

The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is one of the leading media schools in the world. Founded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929 over 85 years ago, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has fueled and mirrored the growth of entertainment as an industry and an art form. The School offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, cinema and media studies, animation and digital arts, production, interactive media and games, all backed by a broad liberal arts education and taught by leading practitioners in each field. Its more than 13,000 alumni are among the world’s most distinguished animators, scholars, teachers, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, sound experts, video game designers and industry executives. Since 1973 not a year has passed without an alumnus or alumna being nominated for an Academy Award or an Emmy.

Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm that is now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. One of the school’s guiding principles is engineering +, a term coined by current Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, to use the power of engineering to address the world’s greatest challenges. USC Viterbi is ranked among the top graduate programs in the world and enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students taught by 185 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.

Press contact:
Kristin Borella, USC SCA
Cari Sanders, The Angellotti Company

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