Ball State University and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) announced a partnership that will provide unique and meaningful opportunities for students engaged in Ball State’s esports program.
Among the key aspects of the partnership is the establishment of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Scholarship, which will provide a $5,000 scholarship to two members of Ball State’s varsity esports team each year from the 2022-23 through 2025-26 academic years, advancing the program’s mission of recruiting and retaining the top esports talent in the world.
Ball State Esports student-athletes will also participate in community events to promote the e-racing series in conjunction with RLL, which is co-owned by television legend and 1969 Ball State graduate David Letterman.
“I am grateful to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for its commitment to the success of our students, and I am grateful to Mr. Lettermanfor his continued engagement with our University,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “It is exciting to celebrate our partnership with RLL by hosting an elite racing team on our campus in a state where racing is an integral part of our culture.”
To celebrate the partnership, two RLL drivers—Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard— participated in the INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge from Ball State’s state-of-the-art Esports Center, utilizing the same racing simulator equipment that is available for and used by Ball State students. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing formed its RLL Esport team in January 2021.
“On behalf of Bobby Rahal, David Letterman, and Mike Lanigan, we are excited to form this strategic partnership with Ball State University’s esports program,” said Tom Knox, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for RLL. “Esports is an emerging and highly competitive field. Investing in future expertise in this area is of great importance to our team and particularly our engineers. This partnership with Ball State connects on many levels including the ability to tap into the bright minds that make up the faculty, students, and alumni.”
Ball State began its varsity esports program as part of its College of Communication, Information, and Media in January 2021, becoming a founding member of the Esports Collegiate Conference. The University’s Esports Production concentration, under CCIM’s Department of Media, delivers hands-on instruction for students to develop their skills in the field of esports media. Students in the program learn the history of esports, video production, streaming, and live event broadcasting.
Ball State has more than 700 students who participate in its student-run Esports Club, including more than 50 student-athletes on its varsity esports team, which is led by program director Dan Marino.
“We are so excited and extremely grateful to partner with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to expand the reach of our esports program,” said Dr. Paaige Turner, CCIM dean. “As esports continues to take our University in new and exciting directions, it’s critically important to provide our students with the skills and opportunities necessary to propel them into fulfilling careers in media, film, entertainment production, news, and more. This partnership with RLL is yet another example of both organizations’ passion and purpose for the communities they serve.”
Fans can watch Wednesday’s full race day for the INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge on the INDYCAR YouTube channel. NBC Sports’ INDYCAR host and pit reporter Kevin Lee—also a Ball State graduate—served as the host.
You can watch Ball State’s production of the INDYCAR-Motorsport Games Pro Challenge from the perspective of the participating RLL drivers. That production was produced by and includes commentary from Ball State Esports students, and is available to watch on Ball State’s official Twitch account and on the YouTube channels of both the College of Communication, Information, and Media and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Ball State Esports and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the News
The Star Press: David Letterman returns to Ball State for partnership with RLL Racing, BSU esports
The Star Press Photo Gallery: David Letterman visits BSU to promote esports scholarship
WTHR: Ball State’s esports team gets boost from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
FOX59/CBS4: RLL Racing partners with Ball State for esports scholarships
WISH-TV: Ball State teams up with Letterman and RLL Racing
WRTV: Ball State hosts IndyCar e-race
Inside INdiana Business: Ball State Details Esports Partnership with INDYCAR Team
WLBC/Muncie Journal: Ball State University, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Announce Esports Partnership, Scholarships
Indiana Public Radio: David Letterman announces partnership with Ball State Esports and racing team
Ball State Daily News: Cardinal Esports announces partnership with RLL Racing
Ball State Daily News Photo Gallery: Ball State Esports Center hosts launch party for Rahal Letterman Lanigan partnership
Indy Star: David Letterman wowed by IndyCar team partnership, Esports Center: ‘Like a kid at Christmas’
Indy Star: An evening with David Letterman at Ball State: snacks, racing simulators and ‘beer money’
Racer.com: RLL forms scholarship program for Ball State Esports
AutoRacing1.com: IndyCar: Ball State University, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Announce Esports Partnership
Ben’s News Round-Up: Rahal Team Up With Ball State University