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ESPN will pull back the curtain on the University of California, Irvine’s League of Legends varsity team as it pursues a second straight collegiate championship and a shot at redemption on the international stage in a docu-series, Good Game: UC Irvine. Industry veteran Bonnie Bernstein executive produced the series through her company, Walk Swiftly Productions. View trailer here.
The first three episodes of Good Game premiere Tuesday, May 21 beginning at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and the finale will air June 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Following airing, episodes will also be available on demand via the ESPN app.
“Good Game is another great example of our continued efforts into narrative storytelling for our linear audience,” said John Lasker, vice president of digital programming. “New fans as well as core esports fans will enjoy a look at UC Irvine’s remarkable season and the increasing popularity of collegiate esports.”
The first public university to offer gaming scholarships, UC Irvine is favored to repeat, but a host of challenges, from personality clashes to position battles, threaten the Anteaters’ mission. The series also confronts head on the stigma around gamers and broader issues of bullying and misogyny, and shines a light on the parallels between traditional sports and esports.
Each episode features unique storylines throughout the UC Irvine season, including:
- Episode 1: The defending Collegiate League of Legends champions are vying for the top seed in the conference playoffs, but a meeting with the team psychologist reveals player dissention that could impact an undefeated season.
- Episode 2: The team is honored by the Anaheim Ducks before its critical conference semifinal match-up. UC Irvine Esports Director Mark Deppe faces tough questions from members of Congress about collegiate gaming, and chaos breaks out minutes before the Western Conference semifinals.
- Episode 3: A veteran player is at risk of losing his starting job as the team tries to iron out weaknesses in the lead up to Live Finals. UC Irvine gets a postseason pep talk from a former basketball star turned pro esports executive.
- Episode 4: UC Irvine heads to Santa Monica to defend its Collegiate League of Legends title against the seven best teams in North America.
“Esports are a valued part of the student and academic experience at UC Irvine, and we know viewers will enjoy getting to know the players, staff and faculty who’ve contributed to our success,” said Edgar Dormitorio, UC Irvine Interim Director of Student Affairs.
With more than 100 million monthly players, League of Legends is the one of the world’s most popular video games. This year, more than 350 university teams are battling for the 2018-19 Collegiate Championship with one million dollars in scholarships distributed by Riot Games
“UC Irvine represents a dynasty in College League of Legends” said Michael Sherman, College Lead, at Riot Games, “As they attempt to win their second consecutive Collegiate Championship, we regard their story as a perfect showcase of esports’ growing prominence on college campuses.”
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Olivia Wilson, ESPN Communications, 213-415-4145, [email protected]