NRG Esports (owners of the Overwatch League team San Francisco Shock) has announced a new partnership between themselves and the University of California, Berkeley, which will see NRG and the San Francisco Shock collaborate with the institution and other sponsors to create a new community center on the campus dedicated solely to esports, coming to the Foothill complex in autumn.
This is just the latest step in the University's new esports program, which as the announcement reminds us, has five pillars: "community, competition, social responsibility, wellness and lifelong learning." What's more is that the Cal Esports team has just achieved its second consecutive win at the recent Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate National Championship too, so esports seems to be taking off.
It's not just about the games themselves though, as the partnership will also support educational and professional development programs, including an innovation lab, connections to a professional team, internships, and job fairs. A "mindfulness, health, and wellness program" will be highlighted too, not to mention a Women in Gaming initiative.
"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," said Andy Miller, owner and CEO of NRG and the San Francisco Shock. "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."
For more on the partnership, check out the teaser trailer posted on Twitter. Do you think more universities should get involved with esports?