‘The aim is to ensure we’re beating every other uni’ – Barrage co-owner on new University of Manchester esports role

Jeff Simpkins, the co-owner of UK esports organisation Barrage, is now assisting the University of Manchester (UoM) Esports Society as an adviser.

He will be helping UoM with trials to grow their esports teams, and on a proposal to acquire better university support, such as providing facilities for practicing.

Jeff will also be seeking partnerships to get better funding for the society so they can play at internal and external LAN events.

Jeff told Esports News UK: "Essentially the aim is to ensure that UoM is beating every other uni in every National University Esports League (NUEL) title.

"UoM were undefeated in the Winter NUEL Overwatch tournament last year. I want to help them replicate that in League of Legends and CSGO. But it'll rely on whether we can gain support from the university.

"UoM currently has the biggest esports/gaming society in the country, so if we can take it to the next level here, then my hope is that other unis will follow suit and we can in turn improve esports at that grassroots level.

"Long term, I'd like to see the uni provide a space for the esports teams to train and play. My argument would be that it's more popular than their regular sports will be, in terms of viewers. And as someone who is interested in gaming, I would be more likely to attend a uni with a dedicated facility for their uni teams."

The UoM's Overwatch team is sorted, while the League of Legends and CSGO rosters will be finalised shortly.

Jeff will still be managing Barrage, and said there's no reason why the top players from a university level could get picked up by the org in the future.

"We are actually re-focusing what we do at Barrage currently to try and be less a jack of all trades," he added.

"I think it would be silly to say that some of the players may not eventually play for Barrage or other organisations. If they are playing at that level there is no reason they can't play for both.

"Shogun, Innaxe, Aux and Kerberos to name but a few will probably all play in the NUEL and for an organisation again this coming year."

There have been a number of developments in the UK university esports sector of late, with the president of Swansea Gaming Society setting up Foundation to try and grow uni esports, and the National University Esports League reacting to that here.

Check out our recent video interview with Jeff and fellow Barrage co-owner Taylor Duke here.

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