×

USC Games announced the USC Esports Union (ESU), its first official collegiate esports program, during the annual USC Conquest Event.

The Conquest Event is a school spirit event that’s held each year to celebrate the UAC and UCLA cross-town rivalry and is taking place ahead of the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins’ football game on campus Saturday, Nov. 17.

The Dean of USC Cinematic Arts, Elizabeth Daley, and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division Danny Bilson, revealed the ESU, which will be focused on developing clubs and teams that focus on individual video games that secure large followings, with a goal in mind of making gaming an integral part of student life. Student teams will have support from publishers as well as the university itself with sanctioned events, staff, and resources as well as equipment to bring it all together.

The initiative will also include a special curriculum including industry-sponsored design courses, as well as management, promotion, marketing, and other elements of the esports business. There will be summits held to promote diversity and talks with leaders in the gaming space, financial support for players, and scholarships planned for awarding players as well.

The next few months will find ESU supporting titles like “League of Legends,” which it has chosen as its inaugural title, due to Riot Games founding members and USC alumni Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill’s involvement.

“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,” said Beck and Merrill in a statement.

USC is set to announce the school’s first roster of “League of Legends” Trojans team members on Thursday, who are scheduled to compete against UCLA’s Bruins in a live League Exhibition Match. The team will also compete in Riot Games’ Spring 2019 competitive College League. There will be a special esports pavilion set up, with “League of Legends” set up in addition to other games, tournaments, prizes, cosplayers, and pro-esports players in attendance.