The Pac-12 Conference has announced after an end of year board meeting that affiliated universities will begin organizing eSports events and tournaments with the goal of creating intercollegiate matchups that lead up to a Pac-12 championship event.
The conference has not yet announced which games it plans to induct in the conference or any partnerships with developers which are already involved with collegiate eSports.
“eSports is a natural fit for many of our universities located in the technology and media hubs of the country,” says Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.
The commissioner also states that the conference's relationships with universities across the country and its media operations in broadcasting the current Pac-12 conference means it has a "natural foundation" to build an eSports tournament platform.
The organization says the decision was made following "an internal review of the growing interest amongst Pac-12 students in competitive video gaming," and that pursuing growth in eSports invites students from academic departments such as computer science, visual and cinematic arts and engineering to participate in competitive play.
Collegiate eSports have already begun to attract an audience, with ESPN broadcasting the Heroes of the Dorm tournament, and Riot Games's recent hosting of the uLoL campus series which concluded in Boston last month. Pac-12 schools have already made a strong performance in these tournaments, with Arizona State going undefeated in this year's Heroes of the Dorm.