Orlando-based Full Sail University is set to open the largest esports arena on a U.S. college campus in May. “The Fortress” will seek to host a variety of professional and collegiate-level events.
The $6 million, 11,200 square-foot facility will support professional and collegiate events and tournaments. It will be able to host 100 esports athletes playing simultaneously, and has room for 500 fans.
The arena is being built in part to support Armada, the university’s collegiate level varsity esports team, which competes in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Smash Brothers, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. In addition to The Fortress, Full Sail is building a separate dedicated practice space for Armada, housed on the 210-acre campus.
Full Sail has been designing the facility since early 2017. The private university has also been working on cooperative initiatives with organizations including computer hardware manufacturer MSI and the NBA 2K League’s Magic Gaming. Full Sail additionally plans to explore drone programming, possibly including drone racing.
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The Orlando campus has served as the host location for internationally recognized top professional esports events, including Red Bull LAN Orlando (2012), Red Bull Training Grounds (2013), Major League Gaming’s Fall Invitational (2013), MLG’s Call of Duty U.S. Championship (2014), The Madden NFL 15 Ultimate Team Championship (2014) and most recently serving as an official Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings location (2017 to present). It also hosted the Florida Mayhem, a professional Overwatch League team, in the Mayhem’s inaugural season (2018).
“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 are a multitude of diverse skills and opportunities for our students to explore,” said Ken Goldstone, Full Sail’s chief operating officer, in a statement.
The Orlando region is also home to game developer EA Sports’s main East Coast office, EA Tiburon. The university’s ties to professional leagues such as Major League Gaming, the NBA 2K League, and the Overwatch League, and its proximity to EA, create a significant opportunity to drive the national esports scene.