LUT and sports team IPV establish an eSports team

Imatran Pallo-Veikot (IPV), a team representing the Finnish ball-batting game pesäpallo, and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) are establishing a professional video gaming or eSports team. The first step is to put together a team and organise its activity during 2018. The team's name will be the Trailblazers.

According to a rough estimate, eSports is played by 200-300 million people and attracts hundreds of millions of spectators. The phenomenon is especially popular between the ages of 15 and 29. Globally, eSports is growing rapidly and is an appealing environment to make both IPV and LUT better known in a target group that is challenging to reach by traditional means.

First Finnish university to venture into eSports

IPV first proposed the establishment of the team and long-term collaboration. The team represents a very traditional Finnish sport but is known for its inventive initiatives, such as arranging national pesäpallo league games in Fuengirola, Spain – a destination that has long attracted Finnish tourists and immigrants. LUT became interested in the idea of an eSports team especially as a way to promote visibility in student recruitment.

"Not many Finnish universities have sports teams of any kind, and to our knowledge, the Trailblazers are the very first Finnish eSports team backed by a university. It befits LUT to be a pioneer in this area as well," says Rector Juha-Matti Saksa.

Approximately 70 nationalities are already represented in the LUT campus community, and Rector Saksa believes that also LUT's extended network will help in building the team and in making it a success. In addition to the international dimension, Rector Saksa considers that digitalisation and teamwork independent of place and time are factors that education and eSports have in common.

"Also our international Master's programmes are headed full speed in this direction: studies are not necessarily tied to one place, but the team is called together from time to time to pursue results intensively, just like an eSports team," explains Saksa.

Player recruitment starts now

IPV answers for the operational activity and budget of the Trailblazers. IPV will offer player contracts, physical and psychological training services, and marketing and sales support.

Player recruitment starts immediately. A total of five to six players will be hired along with a manager responsible for the team's activity. The team ultimately decides in which games it participates, and the goal is both athletic and financial success.

"We consider eSports a national and international long-term investment in the future; we are glad to embark on this journey with LUT. We've set the financial framework, but the team building and its goals will further define the budget," elaborates Jani Valkeapää, IPV's Sporting Director.

Applications to the team: http://www.ipv.fi/en/trailblazers

Further information:

Jani Valkeapää, Sporting Director, Imatran Pallo-Veikot (IPV), +358 50 538 7190, jani.v.valkeapaa@elisanet.fi

Juha-Matti Saksa, Rector, LUT, +358 400 166 659, juha-matti.saksa@lut.fi