How and Why did OU Fitness & Recreation Get Into Esports?
OU Fitness & Recreation has provided inclusive programming for the entire OU population for years. As a response to COVID and evolving into a full virtual state in March 2020 they ramped up new programming in gaming and esports leveraging IMLeagues for coordination with great results. We immediately reached out and started working on ways to collaborate and integrate our worlds together. Fortunately, their primary focuses have been on sports titles with heavy console emphasis which has been a weak point within the OU Esports Club since ever since. This allows for a very natural and logical way to support each other to benefit all. Please reference the article below for more history and scope of this collaboration as we both bring more awareness and opportunities to the OU community collectively.
Through our development in production, building network resources, community, and further advocacy at OU we will collaborate in anyway that makes sense. We have officially added a section for intramural title facilitation within the OU Esports Club Discord. This allows us to stay as aligned as possible in our efforts and keeps our communications in their own lane. Through proximity community members were gain more titles to do more with or at the least find others to play with and gain peers with similar interests. This means further expansion of awareness through our media & news sectors, production for grand finals of league play, and leveraging our marketing and community to further provide resources and incentives. For now, the start of this has allowed us to keep programming free to attend and we’ll be working on creative production resources to elevate community and participation while finding sponsors to incentivize involvement further. OU Fit & Rec Intramurals will focus purely on league style play with multi week splits during Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters for the OU population only. This means only for students, staff, and faculty across all campuses and departments. Programming outside of these titles and the OU community are outside of scope. The OU Esports Club will continue programming for our communities and focuses like normal. This means you can expect a Madden intramurals league on XB1/PS4 from OU Fit & Rec while the OU Esports Club puts on a League of Legends fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. The end result is more awareness and opportunities to more gamers increasing our collective pool of programming spanning a much broader demographic spectrum. EVERYONE WINS!
Summer Collaboration Proof of Concept
Over Summer 2020 The OU Esports Club was contacted by, OU Summer Session, a program facilitated through the Provost’s Office to sustain and elevate summer programming for engagement supplementation. Usually OU Fit & Rec and OU Summer Session partner to augment the cost of operations and facilities. Due to pandemic impacts, analog intramurals could not execute at all. Leveraging our expertise and focus we elevated OU Fit & Rec intramurals with OU Summer Session by opening up our community for marketing, allocated a RL community leader for tournament operations, and brought in full production for the final four of the bracket adding higher value while incentivizing participation. The collaboration brought a full 22 teams of 3 making it the largest esports event for OU Fit & Rec and one of the biggest that The OU Esports Club has ever facilitated. It proved that working together through natural alignment in goals brings massive value to our audiences.
Summer Collaboration Marketing
Summer Collaboration Grand Finals Full Production
Registration for all Fit+Rec hosted intramurals are facilitated through http://imleagues.com/ and the quick start guide can be found at https://www.ou.edu/far/intramurals/registration. All intramural programming information can be found at https://www.ou.edu/far/intramurals. Look to #intramural-announcements for awareness on when registration and league play starts for each. IMLeagues is a tournament and league play organizational software that OU funds for engagement for all OU entities including students, staff, and faculty alike. This also is made available to all 3 campuses and most entities within the OU universe of affiliation using OU credentials to authenticate. The OU Fit & Rec Intramural general policies can be found at https://www.ou.edu/far/intramurals/Handbook. With this partnership we welcome the Fit & Rec Intramural staff to our community Discord server as the point of contacts for their programming and to facilitate community foundation and growth in alignment with university objectives and mission.