Pace University is launching its official Esports program, featuring the development of a dedicated esports and gaming center on its New York City campus. Starting in January 2022, and building off of existing student-led efforts, the varsity esports program will compete across multiple game titles, starting League of Legends™, Valorant™, and Super Smash Brothers™ teams, becoming Pace Athletics’ 15th sport.
Both League of Legends™ and Valorant™ are under the Riot Games umbrella and feature strategic five-versus-five play. Super Smash Brothers™ is published by Nintendo. The Setter squads will compete in the College League of Legends (CLoL) spring season and the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) Starleague. Pace will add varsity Rocket League and Apex Legends teams over the course of spring 2022.
“Pace is committed to innovative programs that prepare our students for the jobs—and the world—of the future,” said Marvin Krislov, Pace’s president. “Our new varsity esports program responds to rapidly growing demand and will give our student athletes the chance to build the skills all sports demand: teamwork, strategy, leadership, discipline, and so much more.”
“We have been working to bring Esports to Pace for the last few years,” said Pace University Director of Athletics Mark Brown. “Esports and gaming are an undeniable part of today’s cultural landscape and a key part of our student’s lives. We couldn’t be more excited to launch this opportunity for our students.”
Brown noted over the past decade, esports has attracted 300 million players and spectators worldwide. Given the recent cultural shift towards gaming – especially among the college-age demographic – it was a natural decision for Pace University to invest in a program that will provide relevant competitive, curricular and vocational opportunities to current and future students, according to the AD.
In addition to being able to try out for Pace’s varsity teams, students will have the opportunity to serve as student-coaches, be part of a large recreational gaming community, and pursue academic and vocational opportunities in gaming.