Frontpage, League of Legends, News/Announcement

Launching the first UK University Women’s Esports Tournament

This Winter, we are incredibly excited to launch our first ever women-only League of Legends tournament.

Starting on the evening of Friday 23rd October, the tournament is planned to last 5 weeks. We welcome cis women, trans women, and femme-identifying or femme-presenting non-binary people of all abilities to take part!

In running this tournament, we’re hoping to help increase opportunities available to marginalised groups in grassroots esports – more information on this below.

Participants in this tournament will also be able to take part in The NUEL’s League of Legends University Tournament, which will take place on Wednesday evenings and is open to all.

Sounds great, where do I sign up?

To sign up to the tournament, fill out this form. If you don’t have a team already, don’t worry – fill out the form as a free agent and we will help you find a team!

Cross-university teams (with players from different universities) are permitted in this tournament. 

When you sign up, you’ll be asked how you identify and what your preferred pronouns are. We will run the tournament on a trust system. In line with the code of conduct for all of our tournaments, toxic behaviour will prompt severe action by our admin team. 

What if I want to cast instead?

We’re also looking for people to help with stream production and casting – and you can apply here!

We will be broadcasting selected matches live every week on twitch.tv/thenuel. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to showcase talent from underrepresented groups, including behind-the-scenes product management, broadcast production, and casting.

Why now?

The decision to run this tournament comes after consultation with a range of stakeholders over the summer, and we see this as one of numerous steps we can take to support diversity in university esports. 

We weighed up various options including mandatory mixed gender teams, mixed rank teams, different games, and full season vs one-day events. We believe that the approach we have taken strikes the right balance between accessibility and competition. 

Women account for 46% of all videogame enthusiasts and 32% of the viewerbase in Europe, but we do not see anywhere near those figures competing in our tournaments. Some estimate the participation of women in esports to be as low as 5%, others at 35%.

Reasons for this lack of participation can vary, but could be due to lack of representation or role models, sexism and harrassment in gaming spaces, gender-specific socialisation (“videogames are for boys!”), and the fact that games have historically not been marketed at women.

We’re looking forward to seeing how the community responds, and will look to learn and develop the tournament as we go! If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a line in Discord.

This tournament is supported by both the British Esports Association’s Women in Esports initiative, and Women in Games.

Morgan Ashurst, British Esports Association Marketing Manager and Women in Esports Committee Member, said “In our mission to help promote inclusivity and diversity within the esports industry, we’re very excited to be involved in The NUEL’s first ever Women’s League of Legends tournament. This is a great opportunity to highlight new, emerging talent within the UK in this 5-week tournament.”

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games, said “Women in Games is delighted to support the first League of Legends tournament for women and non-binary players at UK universities and encourages all universities to participate, putting forward both players and broadcast talent.”

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