Full Sail University showed off plans Wednesday for a state-of-the-art 11,200+ square foot esports arena to support its collegiate varsity esports team, “Armada“, on its Winter Park, Florida campus.
The announcement states the facility will be the largest esports arena at any institution in the United States. This is comparative to the collective 5,200 sq ft multiple facilities at The University of Akron and the 3,500 sq ft facility at The University of California-Irvine.
The announcement states Full Sail will be dedicating over $6m (£4.5m) to the esports arena, named “The Fortress”, and its supporting spaces and efforts. Design for the facility began in 2017 with construction starting this past June and should be completed by early 2019. The arena itself will be filled with high-end equipment and seat around 500 spectators and capabilities to support 100 athletes to compete simultaneously, such as with battle royale games.
The Fortress will not only play host to collegiate and professional tournaments, but live streaming events, and even non-esports events like drone racing. The announcement states Full Sail is already working on initiatives with MSI, Magic Gaming, the NBA 2K League team of the Orlando Magic, and WWE.
Ken Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer at Full Sail commented: “We are excited about these additions to our campus as we continue to strive to make Full Sail the premier destination for students who want to pursue careers in entertainment and media, and specifically, gaming and the various aspects of the live event industry. Whether it be the business aspects of video game and sports management, the information technology behind synchronized gaming within esports, to shoutcasting, live production, game creation, streaming live-casts, and more, there is a multitude of diverse skills and opportunities for our students to explore.”
Currently, Armada competes in League of Legends, SMITE, Overwatch, Rocket League, Super Smash Bors, Dragon Ball FighterZ and more as members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, TESPA, and the CStar League.
Collegiate esports isn’t Full Sail’s first support of esports. It’s served as the host for various events over the years like Red Bull Training Grounds, Major League Gaming Fall Invitational in 2013 and the MLG Call of Duty U.S. Championship in 2014. Full Sail considers itself an “endemic brand” entering esports, as it offers degrees in gaming, technology and sportscasting.
Esports Insider says: Such a busy week for collegiate esports it seems! This is a massive dedication from Full Sail to its esports program, and probably the largest we’ve ever seen. The arena planned looks to be higher quality than even some professional arenas and studios out there. The plans Full Sail has set into motion will not only benefit collegiate athletes but esports in the Orlando, Florida area as well.