The University of Akron has announced the grand opening of its newly built esports facilities. The three state-of-the-art venues, which stretch over 5,000 square feet, will serve the school’s esports varsity team (the Akron Zips), club teams, as well as the public.
Esports’ mainstream popularity
The three facilities, which are equipped with new gaming PCs, chairs, and other required gear, cost about $750,000 in total, according to the announcement. Part of the investment came from various partnerships. SteelSeries helped out with keyboards, mice, and mousepads. Then, Audio-Technica provided the audio equipment for gaming and broadcasting.
“Zips Esports is excited to offer student gamers at The University of Akron one of the first large-scale opportunities to gather and game in-person in a shared communal space,” said the program’s head coach and director, Michael Fay, Jr. “These facilities will enable the varsity, club and recreational players to get to know each other, collaborate around the games they love and contribute to the social capital of the UA campus community.”
The venues are located in different spots across the area. One was put in the Williams Honors College, another in the student union, and the third is housed next to Infocision Stadium. The last one will be reserved for the esports varsity team.
“It doesn’t have as much visibility as your conventional sports would, but now it’s starting to get that mainstream popularity, filling arenas and stadiums with people who are interested in seeing the best compete in the games they play every day,” Fay added.
Akron joining the collegiate esports hype
Last December, the university announced its own varsity esports program. With the aim to become a collegiate esports powerhouse, Akron means business.
The Ohio school is one of many universities embracing the collegiate esports boom. Thanks to organizations like the National Association of Collegiate Esports, organizing competition has become increasingly possible.
Ohio is a popular area for esports development
The Midwestern US state has seen a lot of esports development of late. Not only has the University of Akron made big moves toward embracing esports, but Ohio has also played host to esports competition like the MLG Columbus CS:GO tournament.
Moreover, Ohio State University recently announced the launch of an esports program focused on game studies. The program, which will have esports at its core, will focus on esports management, game art and production, game design, programming, the business of games, and health and rehabilitation.