University of North Texas commits to $200,000 esports facility
The University of North Texas has committed to a $200,000 (£156,000) esports facility set to open on August 30th.
The initial Dallas Observer report states that the space will be called “The Nest” and will lie within the university’s Media Library. The space houses fifteen state of the art computers with the most popular esports titles installed, but they can also be used for game design and other multimedia work.
The effort is a collaborative effort from three university organisations, Recreational sports, the Media Library and Student Services. The $200,000 is pooled resource after talks with “UNT Gaming and eSports”, the largest gaming group on the University of North Texas’ campus.
“What we have now has been our vision from the beginning, but it happened so much sooner than we could have imagined,” commented Diane Robson, media librarian and faculty chair for UNT’s eSports club to the Dallas Observer.
“For me, it’s literally learning something from the ground up. It’s a whole new language,” Laurie Kline, Director of Recreational Sports also told the Dallas Observer. “I watched an entire weekend of League of Legends tournaments on ESPN 3, and it made no sense to me. It’s amazing, exciting and frankly overwhelming.”
Dallas is now host to one of the largest esports brands, OpTic Gaming who have had unbelievable success, especially in the console gaming sphere. They also hold a Counter-Strike roster which is set to move away from North America and into the European space.
The collegiate space is becoming increasingly busy across the States. With the likes of the Overwatch League and North American League Championship Series moving towards a franchise system, the lack of relegation means that organisations looking for the best talent may well utilise the collegiate system to find the next best players.
There’s now 34 members of the National Association of Collegiate eSports, so the interest is clearly there. Tournaments are being run cross-college in a multitude of titles and game developers and publishers heavily with esports titles are getting more and more involved, as shown by the recent announcement with Tespa, Blizzard and Psyonix.
Esports Insider says: More progress in the States on the esports side which is always good to see. The collegiate system seems far ahead of countries such as the UK where clubs and societies exist but they’re rarely provided equipment, funding and space.