US universities are offering League of Legends scholarships

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The University of Pikeville in Kentucky is offering 20 scholarships for top League of Legends players this autumn.

PC Gamer reports that Pikeville isn’t the first to offer this - Chicago institution Robert Morris did the same last year. An extensive college network, called the Collegiate StarLeague, is already established in the country.

“It will be a regime a lot like athletics,” Pikeville’s new media director Bruce Parsons said. “We’ll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions.”

The move is part of a growing movement to position League of Legends and other online games as a legitimate sport. ESPN broadcast a DOTA 2 tournament in 2013, although the network’s president went on the make some disparaging comments about eSports in the following months.

League of Legends revenue topped $1bn in 2014, with 27m viewers tuning in to the 2014 finals. 32m tuned in the year before.