The esports department at Staffordshire University in England is set to undergo a substantial expansion, with £2.9m to be invested into its esports facilities.
The new facilities will feature an esports arena and a dedicated esports studio with broadcast galleries. The project is set to be completed by the Spring of 2024.
Staffordshire University, located in Stoke-on-Trent, was the first university in the UK to launch a dedicated esports degree five years ago. The university has since collaborated with esports organisations and companies such as Fourth Wall Esports and TeamSpeak to develop its esports capabilities.
The new venture will see a total of £2.9m invested into a new esports venue on campus, which will house the esports arena for competitions and practice, as well as the production studio.
The university has partnered with EVS and Panasonic to equip the facilities. Digital Garage, a broadcast solutions company, will be tasked with designing, building and installation of the new space.
In addition, the space will feature esports-inspired artwork created by students, as well as around 80 devices for gaming and esports.
The investment comes as Staffordshire says it has ‘redeveloped’ its esports course “in collaboration with students and industry.” The Esports course is a three-year Bachelor of Arts and claims to combine the production side of esports with practical experience in business, marketing, event management and theory-based studies.
In 2021, Esports News UK reported on student grievances about the quality of Staffordshire’s esports course content, teaching and management.
Esports News UK later reported in a September 2022 article that the university had stopped recruiting Esports students at its London campus in anticipation of a course revamp, which one source told the publication was due to staffing problems. There was no pause in recruitment at its Stoke campus, a representative told Esports Insider.
Professor Raheel Nawaz, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Digital Transformation at Staffordshire University, commented: “We are excited to be expanding our Esports footprint in Stoke-on-Trent.
“This will give students greater access to our facilities, enabling them to immerse themselves in the latest technology and complete more practical based work and extra-curricular activities. We cannot wait for our students to experience the transformed spaces in Beacon.”
UPDATE 27/10/2023 1:05pm: This article has been updated to include clarification from Staffordshire that the course only stopped recruitment on its London campus, not its Stoke campus.