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Riot Announces uLoL Rivalries, Yahoo! Partnership

League of Legends has been quietly investing into their collegiate scene for years now, funding scholarships and giving players the chance to hone their skills on the Rift while pursuing a degree. Now, the scene is about to get a major boost from Riot with a new initiative: uLoL Rivalries.

uLoL Rivalries is one of the biggest collegiate developments yet, with uLoL and Yahoo! Esports partnering to cover the event and produce content around the matches. uLoL Rivalries is one of the most exciting things to happen to the collegiate circuit yet, and it establishes that Riot is planning to give the college level a whole lot of love. Here’s the details on the upcoming show matches, and what this means for the collegiate scene as a whole going forward.

What is uLoL Rivalries?

Here’s how it’s going to work: Twelve rivalries between iconic campuses are going to be put to the vote. Here are the contenders:

  • Michigan-Ohio State
  • Cal-Stanford
  • Texas-Texas A&M
  • Florida-Florida State
  • Harvard-Yale
  • Virginia-Virginia Tech
  • Simon Fraser-University of British Columbia
  • BYU-Utah
  • Duke-North Carolina
  • Alabama-Auburn
  • Arizona-Arizona State

Fans will get a chance to vote on which five rivalries have the chance to duke it out. The series will begin on November 4th, with the matches broadcast live at 3PM PST each week. There’ll be viewing parties on the competing campuses, with Yahoo! Esports covering the content to help players off-campus engage with the events.

Building a collegiate empire

The collegiate circuit has been slowly gathering steam, and while it’s great for giving college students opportunities and building a community on campuses, it hasn’t enjoyed much time in the spotlight during League’s tenure. Between the uLoL Rivalries announcement, and UC Irvine’s eSports arena and accompanying varsity player program, college players are experiencing a new age of accessibility and interest in on-campus League.

So, realistically, what does this mean? uLoL Rivalries is intended to be the start of expanding on League’s collegiate scene, and Riot (along with collegiate organizers) have clear end goals in mind. The first is that League should be treated as a college level sport, built around competition to train players and provide genuine challenges and close matches.

The second aspect is to build communities on campuses. Between the voting and on campus events, uLoL Rivalries will be one of the most accessible events yet. Rivalries is a jump on point for both viewers and potential players on the university campuses. Freshmen looking for a community and a place to make friends will be encouraged to check out their local League group - and competitive players looking to test their skills will be similarly drawn to their local club.

League at all levels

Expanding the collegiate league system with LoL Rivalries is helping to expand League as a video game and help turn it into a lifestyle product, a way to connect with other people and compete at all levels. Riot have mentioned that they want League of Legends to be a game that lasts for generations; incorporating it into many aspects of life and appealing to demographics within demographics.

A huge chunk of League’s players are already college students. The collegiate league provides them with infrastructure to be more than passive fans of the game, but get involved and experience a competitive involvement. The goal is to provide competition that is independent from the NA LCS and the Challenger Series, something that can be compared to traditional sports at the university level. Rivalries is one step towards that goal, with more to come.

The collegiate scene expanding means exciting things for League of Legends, and uLoL Rivalries is just part of that greater evolution. With Yahoo! Esports providing on-site coverage of the matches, fan interaction built into the event from day one, and the most intense college rivalries on display, uLol Rivalries is off to a great start.

There are some hurdles that the event will have to face, including the November time frame that happens around finals and the limited amount of matches. However, Riot has a game plan that extends over the next few years. This is just step one in their master plan; in the years to come, the collegiate scene is going to be receiving a lot of love.

College players who love League are going to be offered a shot at real competition, and uLoL Rivalries is designed to highlight their stories and build the infrastructure they need.

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