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badass university all stars lan event: press release

The BADASS University All Stars League has brought together student esports athletes from thirty-five UK universities, while also reaching the top 0.25% of Twitch channels in under a year. The league showcases esports’ capability to forge thriving communities and create alternative revenue streams for university students.

BADASS University All Stars will be hosting their first live LAN event December 4th-5th at the University of Roehampton’s Esports Arena.

The BADASS University All Stars League has demonstrated how a passion for gaming can be harnessed to connect students during their time at university. Varsity competitions may have been the traditional manner for university students to co-compete, but the BADASS University All Stars League epitomises just how successful a gaming-focused alternative can be.

Named BUAL for short, the league is a unique and dynamic esports tournament format that allows highly skilled students from different universities to team up and compete against each other. Since its inception in November 2020, the league has reached the top 0.25% of Twitch channels and boasts a committed audience who watch each stream for 1.3 hours on average.

BUAL’s current game of choice is Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and has frequently been in the top 5 concurrent channels on Twitch playing this title.

The final round of BUAL’s fourth season will be hosted as a LAN (local area network) event at the University of Roehampton’s Esports Arena: a first live event for BUAL.

BUAL has found a perfect home for its first LAN event in Roehampton. The Roehampton Esports facilities now rival most Esports bootcamps in the UK, coming equipped with 30 high-end gaming PCs with 240hz Esports monitors, optical keyboards and lightweight mice, along with a dedicated content creation and streaming room.

Gaming may often be regarded as a lone pastime, but the crop of student gamers involved in BUAL have shown just why this is a dated assumption. Despite the fact that this will be the first time that many of the players and production staff have met in person, BUAL has already formed a tight-knit online community.

Kairo, a commentator and player for BUAL, speaks fondly of the community that it has formed: “BUAL has a special place in my heart. Becoming organically invested in the league, as well as working with some of the best up and coming production talent, has grown me as a caster. I’ve seen first-hand the community that BUAL has created away from the league - most of these people wouldn't be friends or playing together if it wasn't for the league. It is completely unique from the other leagues and, in my opinion, the best university league in the UK.”

Student projects such as BUAL have changed the narrative of the antisocial gamer. While many head into university to indulge in partying, others may opt to utilise the social offerings of university by forming intimate online relationships.

Data shows that younger generations have become accustomed to forming friendships in this manner. Deloitte has reported that gaming is Gen Z’s favourite hobby and a study conducted by GWI discovered that modern teens prefer socialising with their friends online rather than offline.

Students involving themselves in projects such as BUAL don’t only reap the social benefits, but also have the opportunity to pocket themselves some cash. For example, BUAL’s top prize for the players in the league is a tasty £1.2k.

And it is not only players who receive the monetary benefits of BUAL. Within the last year, BUAL has supported over 100 students with paid experience and training across all areas of esports, such as production, casting and observing.

In terms of higher education, budding esports stars should look no further than the University of Roehampton’s Esports scholarship programme. The scholarship was the first of its kind in the UK when it launched in 2018 and has seen hundreds of applications since. Thirty-two lucky scholars are now enrolled at Roehampton take part in weekly competition, and also receive opportunities to earn cash.

Both BUAL and the University of Roehampton prioritise diversity and acceptance in their respective esports spaces.

Roehampton Esports have made a strong commitment to diversity to ensure their scholarship is welcoming for all, launched the Women in Games scholarship, breaking down barriers for entry into the gaming industry. Their commitment did not go unnoticed, as Roehampton won the University Esports Diversity initiative category in the WIGGlobalAwards earlier this year for their efforts.

Dicta, a player for BUAL, has appreciated the welcoming community created at BUAL "I have now taken part in all 3 seasons of BUAL and I've found it to be a super accepting environment, both as a general player and also as a trans person. Furthermore, it's given me a unique opportunity to meet players from other universities with who I've become friends, that I would never have otherwise met. Overall, it's been a really fun experience which has improved me as a player and I would recommend it to any Rainbow Six Siege player at university."

In a world in which gaming is not yet widely respected as a viable career path, BUAL and the University of Roehampton have shown how gaming can be enriching at a base level, both in terms of social bonding and career progression.

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