And who says you can’t go to school to have fun? University of California, Berkely announced today that they will be partnering with Northern California-based professional esports organization NRG and its franchise the San Francisco Shock. As a result of this partnership, they will launch a new campus esports community center in Fall 2018 at the Foothill complex.
Owner and CEO of NRG and SF Shock, Andy Miller, had this to say:
“Over the past few years, esports has gained a lot of momentum, and we’re incredibly proud of our student athletes,” said Stephen Sutton, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Berkeley. “Student interest has been a major driving force behind our program. Our unique, holistic approach puts UC Berkeley’s public mission at its core. We’ve quickly learned that esports isn’t just about gaming — it’s a growing industry and lifestyle. We’re excited to partner with the SF Shock to create career pathways and educational opportunities for students in this expanding job market.”
“By investing in this esports program, we’re investing in the future: technology, reinvented community, new learning models, and of course, the students. Not only is UC Berkeley one of the most prestigious institutions for higher learning in the world, but it also runs the best collegiate esports program in the country. We look forward to the many things we can do together not just in our Northern California market, but hopefully throughout the esports community as well.”
This partnerships aims to provide support for professional and educational development programs for esports student athletes, including a community inoovation lab, exploring tie-ins to for-credit courses, etc. There will also be a Women in Gaming Initiative to help create a gateway for more female gamers to play with confidence. Cherie Lin, Berkeley student and gaming community leader, is in full support of such a program. “Thanks to the new center and our partnerships,” Lin said, “we can build on that dedication to promote gender equality in the gaming community, in addition to creating new opportunities for the entire student body.”
NRG and the SF Shock are incredibly proud and excited to announce a first of its kind partnership with the #1 Public University in the country.
We can't wait to see what the future holds with @UCBerkeley!!!
— NRG Esports (@NRGgg) April 18, 2018
The first co-sponsored event will take place on UC Berkeley campus today at 5-9 PM PST. Students will be invited to an SF Shock viewing party as the team takes on Dallas Fuel.
For those who don’t know, SF Shock is one of the 12 esports franchises competing in Overwatch League’s inaugural season. They’re owned by NRG esports, founded in 2015 by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, co-owners of the Sacramento Kings. Key investors of NRG include Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, and Shaquille O’Neal.