Another North American university is jumping on the esports bandwagon. The University of North Texas has made plans to open a new $200,000 esports facility. Called “The Nest,” the training facility will be part of the media library on the Denton, Texas campus.
A facility for competitive training
While anyone associated with the university will be able to use the facility, its main purpose will be competitive esports training. The grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 30.
The facility came to life through a collaborative effort between the university’s media library, recreational sports department, and student services. UNT Gaming and Esports, the school’s biggest gaming club, also contributed part of the project’s funding. The formerly unused office space will now be filled with 15 custom, virtual reality-capable rigs equipped with the most popular games.
“There’s all this cool software out there that allows students to design and edit and create things, and The Nest will help bring it all to students,” said Erin Miller, head of the university’s media library.
“It’s got everything we need and a little bit more,” said UNT Gaming and eSports President Ethan Vinante. “The school has been really good about looking ahead and understanding that eSports is where everything is going.”
Esports competition heating up among colleges
Esports has become one of the fastest-growing sports at American colleges, and the NCAA also started paying more attention. In a recent statement, the association made public that it has started discussing the subject of competitive gaming:
“The board discussed the current esports landscape, including the prevalence of organized gaming competitions at campuses across the country. The presidents will continue the conversation in their October meeting to better understand the NCAA’s potential role.”
With its project, North Texas now joins a number of other North American universities in the competitive gaming area.
The University of Utah unveiled its varsity esports program in April, becoming the first Power Five college to take up esports. UC Berkeley has also formed its own esports team.
Tespa helping the collegiate esports scene grow
While an increasing number of universities across the US are embracing esports, another important organization is helping the scene grow. Tespa, formerly known as Texas Esports Association, has played a major role in recent developments.
The association was founded in 2012, originally as a collegiate gaming club at the University of Texas. But seeing the rapid expansion of esports, the organization grew nationally in 2013 as an event support network for college gaming organizations. In 2014, Tespa went even further, announcing a partnership with Blizzard Entertainment. The collaboration included Tespa taking on a host role for online leagues for Hearthstone, League of Legends, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm.
The organization’s most recent move was announcing a new professional league for university students. In a clear statement of its confidence, Tespa has promised a $1 million prize pool for the league.
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