UIUC Gaming and eSports Ecosystem is Ready to Engage with Companies

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Game design, development, coding, and esports programs, coursework, and extracurriculars at the University of Illinois have been growing over the past few years. The gaming and esports industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. In 2022, the global esports audience was estimated to be around 532 million people. In the United States alone, it was predicted that the number of esports viewers would reach 29.8 million, with a projected increase to 34.8 million by 2026. Additionally, more than half of the US population (54.2%) were found to be digital gamers. Out of that figure, mobile gaming was the most popular, with 48.3% (162.9 million people) playing games on their phones. The future of game design is bright, and the University of Illinois is eager to help you get involved in a variety of ways on our campus.


Our campus is buzzing with gaming and Esports events and opportunities for companies to get involved. From local community events to intercollegiate tournaments, such as the Illini Esports Invitational, over 4,500 attendees come to support gaming and Esports. Want to sponsor an event, check out sponsorship options here. 



Connecting students

Unlock the Potential of a Diverse and Talented Illini Workforce

The University of Illinois has many unique majors, minors, and certificates in areas of game design, development, content creation, audio engineering, business development, advertising, and law.

If you’re looking for students to help with game design, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the School of Information Sciences, and the Grainger College of Engineering, all have programs of study that prepare students for these roles. From Computer Science and Computer Engineering to Graphic Design and New Media degrees, our students are well-versed in the art and technical skills it takes to bring your ideas to life. Our brand new Game Studies and Design Minor is already a popular pairing for students of the above majors.

We also know that there are many needs for other roles within your company to help you be successful. The University of Illinois has nationally renowned programs in Accounting, Labor and Employment Relations, Psychology, Advertising, Corporate Law, Finance, and many global languages. These students engage in learning beyond the classroom in many experiential learning opportunities such as student-run consulting firms and project management courses.

Check out our Gaming and eSports One Pager to learn more about the degrees our students earn.

Expert certification

Solve Your Complex Challenges: Leverage our Award-Winning Faculty & Labs

As our course offerings have expanded to include more gaming-focused topics, we have identified several faculty as leaders in the virtual world and leaders on our campus in these areas. Opportunities exist for your company to partner with our faculty experts using research contracts, research facilities, and cutting-edge labs.

A group of Illinois faculty recently presented at the Playful by Design Conference in Portugal. The conference included presentations on topics such as the gaming industry in Portugal and the U.S., games for learning, serious games, and emerging technologies. The Keynote was presented by Illinois Associate Professor Dr. Judith Pintar who spoke on the emergence of the new Game Studies and Design Program at Illinois.

Our faculty work in many departments, labs, research units, and colleges across campus. Check out some of these units below to get connected with our experts:


Boost Your Business: Empower Your Team with New Skills

As the #13 public university in the country and #7 best undergraduate engineering school according to U.S. News and World Report, we are proud to design courses to up-skill or cross-skill full-time employees who are looking to engage in continuing education opportunities. We have a variety of formal and non-formal opportunities to learn more about the industry you're passionate about from leaders on our campus and around the globe.

  • The University of Illinois' Master's of Computer Science in Data Science program provides students with a comprehensive education in the core competencies of machine learning, data mining, data visualization, and cloud computing, equipping students to become leaders in this rapidly-growing field. This online degree has recently been named #1 and pulls from resources in the nation's top-ranked School of Information Sciences.
  • Our $23,500 MBA program is designed specifically with working professionals in mind. It was named the MBA Program of the Year by Poets&Quants with its flexible and affordable options, making it a great choice for any aspiring business leader.
  • The Game Studies Graduate Minor is an invaluable addition to any graduate program, allowing students to gain a valuable set of skills and knowledge to pursue game-related research in their field. It provides a comprehensive overview of game studies and its core concepts, enabling students to explore and understand the implications of video games in their field.
  • The Champaign-Urbana Community FabLab on campus has a variety of informal workshops and teaching resources for you and your employees to explore design of all disciplines and skill levels. With the support of the FabLab, you and your team can dare to dream and push beyond your limits.
Technology transfer

Accelerate Your Growth with Our Cutting-Edge Innovations and Expertise

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to innovations that translate into products, services, companies, and jobs that positively impact the quality of life and economic well-being of people around the world. The University has generated over 200 innovations in 2022 alone, including Textureshop, Relighting Photo Fragments, and 3-D Insertion into Photographs which could all be useful to you in your development of new products.

Thanks to collaborative research and talented UIUC students and faculty, The Office of Technology Management is able to commercialize innovations from a variety of departments across campus, including mobile apps, visual art, software, and more that may be valuable to your gaming company. These innovations are then available for public use through the protection and licensing of Illinois intellectual property.

The Office of Technology Management is dedicated to technology transfer at UIUC and hosts several programs specific to research and company needs. Is your company looking to benefit from new and exciting research innovations happening at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign? Talk to us about your innovation needs and we can help you out.

Sponsor events

Boost Your Brand's Visibility and Engagement with Highly Engaged Students

With over 56,000 current students and almost 500,000 living alumni, we are here to connect you with our network. Our expertise ranges from naming rights for buildings and classrooms to professorships and from equipment donations to philanthropic giving. These opportunities increase your brand awareness on our campus and deepen your relationship with our institution.

If you are looking for branding opportunities that allow you to work alongside top University students, we have several student gaming and e-sports organizations that are looking to partner with companies just like you. Meet two of these student organizations below:

  • Illini Esports - With over 4,500 members across all academic disciplines, Illini Esports is the hub for student gaming, healthy competition, and community to thrive. Their events include monthly large-scale events, weekly community events, and the annual Illini Esports invitational. The Esports Invitational is held each spring in the State Farm Center, and there is a plethora of branding and sponsorship opportunities available for you during this event.
  • Social Gaming Club - Social Gaming Club aims to use gaming as an outlet for social interaction through weekly meetings. Members engage in a variety of consoles and participate in a less competitive gaming style to maximize fun and learning.

Unlock the Power of Innovation through Rapid Prototyping at Our Research Park

The University of Illinois Research Park is a leading innovation hub for technology commercialization with a unique environment that cultivates startups and increases capabilities for established companies. Research Park is home to 120 companies, 2100 employees, and 875 student interns. Opening its doors in 2001, Research Park has a strong connection with Champaign-Urbana and the campus community.

Research Park is also home to our startup incubator, EnterpriseWorks, who is making a real difference in the world of innovation by providing vital resources, mentorship, and support to startups, helping them to launch and grow quickly. Their incubator model is helping to foster the development of groundbreaking ideas and technologies that are changing the way we live and work.

Over the years, Research Park has hosted and fostered several tech leaders and startups at Research Park whose work is relevant to your mission and desire to impact the gaming space. Meet them here:


At Illinois, we have it all.

Gaming at Illinois


Want to learn more? Contact Steph Larson here!