October 23, 2019
The University of Kentucky has announced a partnership with Gen.G Esports to create a collegiate esports and gaming program.
Gen.G will help develop student recruitment and classroom opportunities for the university’s program, along with research opportunities and professional development programs for school alumni. The formal partnership was established through JMI Sports, the University of Kentucky’s multimedia rights holder, and the organization will work with the university’s existing student esports club on certain initiatives.
“This partnership will provide further paths for students to explore these pursuits, using technology—and gaming—as a tool,” said University of Kentucky Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, Eric N. Monday, in a release. “At the University of Kentucky and at Gen.G, we view gaming, esports, and technology as a lens through which prospective, recent, and current UK students view their lives and opportunities for lifelong growth and development.”
The esports program is the latest part of the University of Kentucky’s Smart Campus Initiative, which began this past spring with the announcement that all first-year students and some faculty would receive an Apple iPad Air tablet with accessories. According to a release, the university will hold launch events for the esports program “in major U.S. cities” later this academic year.
The University of Kentucky and Gen.G will host speakers from the esports industry, including executives, players, and content creators, and livestream the events online. The university will also develop an esports and gaming academic conference for spring 2020, and the companies will further develop the University of Kentucky’s Innovation Lab, which is set to open in fall 2020. The University of Kentucky will also work with faculty to explore the possibility of a gaming-centric certificate program.
Gen.G is an esports organization headquartered in both Seoul and Los Angeles, with teams competing in such games as League of Legends and Fortnite. The organization also owns the Overwatch League’s Seoul Dynasty franchise, and will operate an NBA 2K League franchise out of Shanghai for the 2020 season.