The Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) has launched the Bronzeville Esports League, aiming to bring esports to schools and community organizations lacking esports teams and programs or access to them.
With support from Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Scott Greenberg and Chris Lai, co-CEOs of Smash Interactive and developers of the Surge Esports Arena at 2500-2548 S. Wabash Ave., have partnered with Illinois Tech in establishing the Bronzeville Esports League. Greenberg and Lai expect the arena, now under construction, to open in 2022.
The league’s creators hope it will expand gaming-related benefits to bolster college and career opportunities for individuals living on the South and West Sides.
“Esports is not just about playing video games for hours on end,” Dowell said. “The increasingly researched benefits of gaming and esports—from college scholarships to a pathway to industry jobs—can have a tremendous impact on the South and West Sides of Chicago. Illinois Tech’s continued commitment to preparing students for a changing industrialized society makes them the ideal steward—in the ideal location—for this endeavor.”
The Bronzeville Esports League will provide events for middle school students in sixth through eighth grades and for high schoolers in ninth through 12th grades.
Middle schoolers’ events will consist of single-day tournaments; hands-on education related to video editing, game design, streaming, and content creation; guest speakers involved in the esports industry; and a basic introduction to professions connected to the esports industry.
For high schoolers, the league will offer two seasons per year and support four esports games; hands-on education related to video editing, game design, patronage, streaming, and content creation; guest speakers involved in the esports industry; a basic introduction to professions connected to the esports industry; and introductions to universities with esports scholarships for college.
Already, the league is partnering with UGC, a company that has donated access to the competitive infrastructure. The Esports Trade Association also has provided support, and Illinois Tech has donated partial proceeds from a charity auction to the league.
For more information, visit esportsta.org/esportsnext-2021-fall.
For Dowell’s office, call (773) 373-9273. Learn more about Illinois Tech at www.iit.edu or call (312) 367-3000. For Smash Interactive, call (847) 229-9200.