History of the Program

UCI is the first public university to create an official esports program and is regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world. The vision for the esports program was born in the summer of 2015. With a successful Computer Game Science major, a thriving gaming community, and a history of elite competition, UCI is a natural place for esports to thrive. Working with student leaders, faculty, UCI’s gaming community and forward-thinking administration, the esports program was announced in the spring of 2016. On September 23, 2016, the UCI Esports Arena powered by iBUYPOWER was opened, and UCI offered scholarships to its first League of Legends teams.

Our Pillars

COMPETITION: We recruit the best gamers in the world to compete for our teams in the top collegiate leagues in North America. We offer scholarships to players for both League of Legends and Overwatch. We also support our student club teams with access to the arena, jerseys, and travel expenses. Our teams redefine what it means to be an elite gamer by instilling the values of appreciation for diversity, healthy living, academic success and life balance.

ACADEMICS & RESEARCH: UCI is at the forefront of game-related education and research. One of the most successful studies in the arena was a neuroscience study involving Minecraft demonstrating that 3D immersive games can improve memory. We also funded 12 research projects related to video games through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. In May of 2017, we hosted our first academic symposium, bringing together some of the top academics from around the country to discuss the world of esports.

COMMUNITY: UCI is home to some of the biggest gaming clubs in the nation and has a very strong community. A 2015 survey indicated that 72% of undergraduate students identified themselves as gamers. The Association of Gamers (TAG) - UCI’s largest club - supports casual and competitive play and connects people who love to play games. The UCI Esports Arena powered by iBUYPOWER is a new home for gamers and allows people to play their favorite games while on campus. In 2015, College Magazine ranked UCI the #1 school for gamers in North America.

ENTERTAINMENT: The arena presents opportunities for gamers to learn about the world of esports media. With our shoutcasting station and streaming program, UCI students can create original content and shoutcast live events. Students are able to develop the skills necessary to pursue a career in fields including video production, streaming, hosting, and many others. We also offer regular tournaments and events for local competitive and recreational gamers.

CAREERS: We connect students to companies and jobs in the games and esports industries. We host networking nights, career discussions, and seek our internship and job opportunities for our students. Finally, we are exploring ways to help esports competitors, both collegiate and professionals, translate their unique skill sets to future careers. This is the newest of our pillars and one we hope to explore more deeply in coming years.

Our Staff

Mark Deppe
Kathy Chiang
Assistant Director
Samantha Anton
High School League Chief Operating Officer
Hillary Phan
Player Support Services
Jessamyn Acebes
High School League Operations
Yoseph Ghazal
Administration and Events Intern
Damian Rosiak
Stream Intern
Nick Gasparyan
Digital Marketing Intern
Jonathan Solis
Social Media Intern
Allison Le
League of Legends Team Manager
Angie Batth
Overwatch Team Manager