esports lab wide room shot

esports lab

The Esports program at the University of Cincinnati is comprised of several initiatives that span community, competition, and academics. This list of frequently asked questions and answers will continue to grow as new initiatives launch.

Esports are organized, team-based, video game competitions in a global industry valued in billions of dollars per year. Twitch and YouTube Gaming have distributed billions of viewing hours. Esports includes competitive game titles such as Rocket League, Valorant, and League of Legends.

Esports are recognized as competitive sports and carry many of the same characteristics of traditional sports. Skill and talent, sportsmanship, teamwork, organized play, a vibrant community, and prizing are all core components of competitive esports titles.  

Esports foster an inclusive environment regardless of physical stature or expressed gender identity, making the experience enjoyable for students. Esports also offers real applications beyond gaming, providing valuable hands-on skills and personal development to students that are beneficial to one's career during and after college.  

Esports at UC is currently not considered a varsity sport, however students participating in officially sanctioned competition are recognized as student athletes. Varsity sports at UC are organized and managed through Athletics, while competitive esports titles are overseen by Center for Student Involvement (CSI).  

UC is home to one of the oldest Esports communities in the country, the first club-sport in the country, and has hosted the largest collegiate esports event in the Midwest in October 2015. The connection between UC and the CID gives the Esports program enormous leverage to connect students, organizations, and brands in ways other programs cannot. 

The UC Esports program fosters community, competition, and academics.  Students can come together over their shared passion for Esports to compete, train, and engage together.  Additionally, the UC Esports program provides a home for all things esports: the UC Esports Innovation Lab. This lab is the home for practice, competition, events, and community.  Lastly, the UC Esports program serves as a catalyst for student development, providing opportunities for personal and professional development with partners within the business community and the Cincinnati Innovation District.

Competitive teams at UC are currently overseen by UC Esports Club and are supported by the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) through Discord. Tryouts for teams are conducted in the fall and spring, and require a student to be enrolled full-time, and in good academic standing. The teams are all encompassing of UC Main Campus and all satelite campuses.  

Students who join a competitive team understand that they represent the University of Cincinnati and the Bearcat Nation. Students will compete in officially sanctioned national leagues and tournaments, including online and in-person events. Students are expected to commit to weekly training at the Esports Innovation Lab, communicate and collaborate with their team members, and live the principles of sportsmanship, intentional practice, and being best-in-class. In the future, scholarships, apparel, and support will be available for members of competitive teams.

The UC Esports program supports student development of all kinds, including outside of competition. Students additionally have the opportunity to interact directly with our partners for work-study and other professional opportunities that prepare you for success as an eventual graduate and alumni. Lastly, students can apply to work directly with and for the Esports Innovation Lab, gaining valuable experience in esports and facility operations, broadcasting, and event management. 

No, the Esports Innovation Lab and all components and services are provided free of charge to all students and members of the Bearcat community.

As a note, prior to 5:00pm EST, there is a parking fee for those who opt to park at the 1819 Innovation Hub parking lot. Pricing ranges from 30 minutes free to a $10 daily max. For easy parking through the Text2Park app, please visit t2p.mobi/1819.

Street parking is free, and lot parking is free after 5:00pm EST. 

View our full list of games here.

Hours of operations are Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to Midnight, unless there is an event being hosted in the lab. Stay tuned into our social channels or Discord for the latest information.