Elite college players will be gunning for magnificence this weekend looking for a North American title and the scholarship cash prize that opts for it.

Players from the University of British Columbia to UCLA will be squaring off in a downtown Toronto cinema Friday through Sunday at the CSL North American Collegiate Grand Finals with more than US$ 100,000 in scholarships on the line.

They will compete in four PC video games: “Dota 2,” “Counter Strike: Global Offensive,” “League of Legends” and “StarCraft 2.”

” These are the final 4 for each of our leagues,” stated Wim Stocks, CEO and GM of WorldGaming.

Performances this weekend might lead to agreements from professional video gaming teams. Some leading collegiate gamers currently play in professional occasions.

” These are a few of the best gamers on the planet,” stated Stocks.

Organizers state what is billed as the biggest collegiate esports occasion is proof of the growth of the industry on schools.

The Collegiate Starleague was established in 2009 by Mona Zhang as a Princeton freshman. It was subsequently purchased by WorldGaming, which Cineplex acquired in 2015 for $10 million with a promise to invest $5 million more in the venture.

CSL vice-president Neil Duffy says the number of campuses involved has grown from 230 to 240 in 2015 to more than 920 this year.

Go to the Robert Morris University Illinois athletics website and you will see esports together with football, golf and other sports. You can get an university letter for gaming.

The University of Utah, whose curriculum consists of a well-known video game advancement program, and Stephens College, an all-women’s school in Columbia, Mo., likewise recently revealed esports programs.

And Duffy says there are 30-plus more like those in the U.S.

Stocks states campus esports is growing regardless of “administrative bureaucracy” in some quarters.

” Enlightened schools are seeing esports as a big opportunity for assisting and abetting their recruiting,” said Stocks. “The wise schools are recognizing that kids who are playing esports are among the brightest STEM trainees– brightest science, tech, engineering and math students.”

In Canada, St. Clair College in Windsor, Ont., and Lambton College in Sarnia, Ont., have actually recently formalized their esports programs.

The Collegiate Starleague season mirrors the scholastic calendar, starting with registration in September. Plays runs October through April, with the finals in Might.

William (Buster) Stewart belongs to the Waterloo “StarCraft 2″ team that deals with a hard University of Montreal group first off. Last Saturday, the 23-year-old and his teammates held a 12-hour practice session with an eye to a semifinal upset.

The fourth-year computer system sciences trainee from Stayner, Ont., began playing in CSL in 2013, eventually taking control of as team co-ordinator.

” It’s the strongest team Waterloo has actually ever had, considering that I have actually been here.”

The Montreal team includes Alex (Semper) Dimitriu, a world-class talent, and partner-in-crime Simon (Jig) Lacasse-Labelle.

The University of British Columbia might figure prominently this weekend. The school won the “Dota 2” final last year and was runner-up in 2015. It likewise won the “StarCraft 2” last in 2016 but was beaten in this year’s playoffs.

This year marks the very first time the finals have remained in Canada and as a standalone occasion. Previous champions (2014 in Anaheim, 2015 in San Francisco, 2016 in Austin) were in conjunction with larger gaming occasions.

The most significant title is “League of Legends,” generally due to developer Riot Games, which has actually worked hard to assist develop its college following.

Video game designers work closely with CSL, pleased to get their title in front of players. Stocks says other business are likewise interested, looking to discover a method to reach university student who are “not consuming their entertainment in standard methods.”

CSL organizers state more than 1,500 groups contended from October 2016 to April across six games and 3 different platforms.

Two other video games– “Madden NFL” and “Vainglory”– have separate finals. Madden is objected to on Xbox One/PlayStation 4 while “Vainglory” is a mobile video game. CSL prepares to include more console and mobile video games in the future and aims to broaden into Europe in the 2017-18 season.

The 4 grand finals:

“StarCraft 2”: University of Waterloo, University of Montreal, University of Connecticut and Temple University (Friday with $8,000 in rewards on the line).

“League of Legends” Invitational: UBC, Simon Fraser, McMaster and the University of Toronto (Friday, $5,000).

“Dota 2” (a follow up to “Defense of the Ancients”): UBC, University of Connecticut, Cal State Long Beach and UC Davis (California) (Saturday, $50,000).

“Counter Strike: Global Offensive”: UBC, UC Irvine (California), UCLA and CUNY Baruch (New York City) (Sunday, $50,000).

The finals tournament includes a series of speaker panels and sessions on the esports industry.