Full Sail University, a private, for-profit college based in Winter Park, Fla., has announced plans to build an on-campus esports arena to support the school’s varsity esports team. At 11,200 square feet, the stadium will be the largest esports arena built to date on any college or university campus in the United States.
The arena is being called “The Fortress” and will have an occupancy of more than 500 people. It includes the capacity to have 100 esports athletes playing simultaneously. In addition to hosting Full Sail’s esports team, the university is working with the WWE, Magic Gaming of the NBA 2K League, and Riot Games to bring professional esports initiatives to the arena. According to an official press release from Full Sail, the arena will host collegiate and professional gaming tournaments, live sports streaming events and possibly even drone racing.
Full Sail has allocated over $6 million to fund The Fortress, which will come equipped with the latest gaming technology. Construction plans also include a dedicated practice space for the Full Sail varsity esports team, which is nicknamed “Armada.” The team has previously competed in collegiate-level esports events for games such as League of Legends, Smite, Overwatch, Rocket League, Smash Brothers, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.
“With a proud history of offering award-winning degree programs in gaming, technology, sports marketing, and more recently, sportscasting, Full Sail is uniquely positioned as an endemic brand in the esports space,” the press release states. “The initiative to bring the burgeoning field of esports to Full Sail was organically spearheaded by faculty and students to provide an esports culture on Full Sail’s campus”
Full Sail University provides specialized degrees for those pursuing careers within entertainment, media, arts, and technology. The 210-acre campus has hosted several esports events in the past, as Full Sail’s Armada is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Construction of The Fortress is planned to complete in early 2019.
“Not only will it be the largest collegiate esports arena, but The Fortress will also house incredible technology aimed at delivering the best esports experience, including the latest generation live video equipment by Ross Video, Sony video monitors and cameras, giant high-resolution LED screens by Absen, multi-zone loudspeaker systems by L-Acoustics, media servers by Green Hippo, and high-bandwidth dedicated internet connectivity to guarantee the best game-playing and viewing experience for our audience,” said Luis Garcia, Vice President of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University, in the press release.
Full Sail could be a natural fit for esports since the university attracts students seeking careers in the entertainment industry. In addition to hosting collegiate esports events that could present sponsorship opportunities, the university may also reap benefits from hosting professional esports organizations at the school’s new state-of-the-art arena, and from the connections The Fortress might create.