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Simon Fraser University competes against the University of Toronto during the opening round at the League of Legends College Championship on May 25, 2017 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

While the concept of spectators packing an arena to watch competitive video gaming at a college level may be perplexing to more traditional sports fans, the popularity of collegiate esports is growing in the Bay Area. In 2018 the streaming platform Twitch, which hosts esports competitions, moved their headquarters to San Francisco. In 2021, San Jose State University’s Bay Area Vandals competed in the biggest international Valorant tournament and the Chase Center is hosting the League of Legends Championship Finals in November. Clubs and teams are now commonplace at colleges across the country. We’ll dive into the world of college esports and discuss what’s drawing students and Universities to esports programs.


Luke Winkie, freelance writer

Johanna Brewer, assistant professor of computer science at Smith College and director of research, AnyKey

Kirk Robles, associate director of business development for student affairs at U.C. Berkeley. He oversees the Cal Esports program.

Ryan Winter, president of Gaming Gators at San Francisco State University

Anne Zhang, co-lead of Cal Marginalized Genders in Gaming's mentorship program


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