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Mark Deppe - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Mark Deppe

UCI Esports Director | UC Irvine


Mark Deppe's expertise is at the intersection of video games, esports, education, and industry






Mark Deppe discusses the growth of varsity esports | Esports | ESPN Do you think you have what it takes to join UCI Esports? UCI esports director Mark Deppe on future of collegiate esports and NCAA | ESPN Esports eSports, the Future of Competition | Mark Deppe | TEDxUCIrvine




Mark led the effort to create the award-winning esports program at UCI. Working closely with student leaders, administrators, faculty, and industry partners, Mark built a business plan that is both cost-neutral to the university and that broadly approaches the world of esports through the five pillars of Competition, Research, Community, Entertainment, and Careers. Mark was selected to serve as the inaugural commissioner for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation, helping connect learning to student interests.

In June 2018, UCI’s League of Legends team won the College League of Legends Championship. In October 2018, UCI’s esports program was awarded “Most Outstanding Collegiate Program” by the esports industry at the Tempest Awards. While at UCI, Mark has coordinated many campus traditions, including helping break Guinness Book World records. Mark has a B.S. in psychobiology from UCLA and an MBA from Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Public Relations



Video Games

Operations Management

Education (2)

California State University-Fullerton, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics: MBA 2015

Activities and Societies: Phi Beta Delta Honor Society

University of California, Los Angeles: BA, Psychobiology 2005

Activities and Societies: Bruin Woods, Dance Marathon, Student Alumni Association, Club Soccer, Club Rugby

Media Appearances (8)

With League of Legends world finals approaching, more colleges are welcoming esports

The Athletic  online


Mark Deppe, [UCI esports director], who helped create a powerhouse esports program at UC Irvine, said his school recognized the power of counterprogramming when he launched the program there in 2016. … Deppe … presented a business plan to campus administrators that sold the world of esports through the five pillars of competition, research, community, entertainment and careers. … “Our leadership thought it would set us apart from the other UC schools ….’’ Deppe said. … By 2018, UCI’s League of Legends team won the college championship, and UCI was awarded “Most Outstanding Collegiate Program” by the esports industry.

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The best TVs for gaming in 2023, according to experts

NBC News  online


Mark Deppe, director of esports at University of California, Irvine, agreed that big flatscreens have not been up to par. “The students here play Smash Bros., and it's a game that’s famous for the reaction time of its competitors. The game works at a certain speed, and the TV has to be at that exact speed. Otherwise, it's impossible to play at a high level,” he said. TV technology is catching up though, he added. UC Irvine, for example, is currently purchasing some of the newest Vizio models for its UCI Esports Arena. “Vizio’s newer TVs meet that need. They have the right refresh rate and zero latency, so the Nintendo Switch and the TV are in perfect sync,” said Deppe.

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Eighties Arcade Icon Claims Top Video Game Spot in Survey

The Street  online


"People who are Googling video games are likely older folks who played those games when they were growing up," said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports at the University of California, Irvine. "Most of my college students are getting information through Discord communities, on Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Reddit."

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Navy calls on gamers to join its esports team

Military Times  online


Part of the service’s outreach is using gaming as a means of gaining valuable skills that can be applied to making warfighters, Mark Deppe, director of the esports program at UC Irvine, previously told Navy Times. The service’s team did hit a slight glitch early on, however, when it blocked some users from its livestream channel, a move that caused backlash and cries of stifling free speech, Military.com reported.

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2022 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award Nominees

Orange County Business Journal  online


Featured expert

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Maximizing ROI: Lessons from Collegiate Esports Investments

EdTech Magazine  online


Mark Deppe: Our program has generated over $1 million in corporate sponsorships, both cash and product. We have generated over $1 million in philanthropy. Compared with the cost of the program, that means we’re probably just about breaking even over the course of time. Schools are mostly trying to make revenue through esports by increasing enrollment. If your cost of attendance is $35,000 or $40,000 per student, and you only have to invest maybe $5,000 or $10,000 per student for the esports program, then that could be a revenue generator.

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What to Expect for eSports in 2022

Daily Game  online


During the height of the pandemic, Mark Deppe, director of the University of California Irvine Esports, spoke with Aaron Orlowski of UCI about where eSports were headed and what to expect next year and beyond. “COVID-19 has been both a challenge and a boon for esports. More people are playing video games and watching online content than ever before. The UCI teams have been able to compete in collegiate tournaments from home. With that said, all major live events were canceled, including the Overwatch League matches in March and April and the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, which was originally scheduled for May. I think the sizzle of esports that comes with major live events is missing, but the community and broader ecosystem are thriving.”

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UCI eSports: Making a Lucrative Career out of Video Games

YurView  online


Mark Deppe, UCI eSports Director (00:04) – eSports is the competitive element that comes with video games. We all know video games are wildly popular. A small portion of people who love video games really want to compete and see who the best is. And they’ve really flourished in the last few years with just internet technology improving, games improving. And now there’s this whole entertainment aspect that comes to esports. So people are playing competitively, in a community environment and being entertained.

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Articles (1)

Diversity and Inclusion in Esports Programs in Higher Education: Leading by Example at UCI

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS)

Khaila Amazan-Hall (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jen Jen Chen (University of California, Irvine, USA), Kathy Chiang (University of California, Irvine, USA), Amanda L. L. Cullen (University of California, Irvine, USA), Mark Deppe (University of California, Irvine, USA), Edgar Dormitorio (University of California, Irvine, USA), Doug Haynes (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jessica Kernan (University of California, Irvine, USA), Kirsten Quanbeck (University of California, Irvine, USA), Morgan Romine (AnyKey, Irvine, USA), Bonnie Ruberg (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jenny Song (University of California, Irvine, USA), Judith Stepan-Norris (University of California, Irvine, USA), Constance Steinkuehler (University of California, Irvine, USA) and Aaron Trammell (University of California, Irvine, USA)

2018 The last 2 years have witnessed a tremendous rise in esports in the US and, with it, a growing concern about the lack of diversity and its underlying probable cause: toxicity toward women and minorities. The popularity of this new pastime among undergraduates has skyrocketed and club leagues are quickly transitioning into collegiate sports, leaving universities to rapidly catch up with student demand in order to attract and keep a technologically-adept incoming student body. The University of California, Irvine has become a leader in collegiate esports programs, boasting a centrally located, dedicated esports arena, an active gaming student body (72%), and undergraduate scholarships. The goal is to be a leader not merely on the digital field, however. The goal is to also live up to the long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion across all aspects of campus life. In this article, the authors detail the strategy for accomplishing this. As university esports programs emerge nationwide, so too must campus policies and practices that ensure a welcoming and safe environment for all students.

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