Full Sail University, a school in Florida whose academics focus primarily on entertainment, media, arts, and technology, has opened up its own collegiate esports arena dubbed “The Fortress.”
Esports have now been growing for a long time, and with it grew has grown the early makings of collegiate esports. More and more universities are starting esports clubs and leagues, and there are many college-level tournaments held each year in the United States where competition between universities is a big business.
The Fortress will be the home of the Armada, Full Sail’s varsity esports team. The arena is an 11,200 square foot facility and will initially seat up to 500 fans. It is the largest esports facility yet to occupy a college campus.
Full Sail began construction in early 2018 and opened on May 19. Featured in the space is a designated area for student athletes to prepare for upcoming games and tournaments. With the opening of this arena, Full Sail president Garry Jones explained that he hopes to bring attention to the college’s dedication to the growing esports industry.
“This is not just about a great new place on our campus,” Jones said. “This is about a great new place in our region — Orlando and beyond. Thanks to the power of streaming we can reach tens of millions of people from this space.”
Esports is a constantly growing industry which is expected to pass the $1 billion revenue mark this year according to a report by Newzoo. Although there are a few arenas that have already seen use as an esports venue, the United States has now also seen the announcement of its first ground-up esports arena in Philadelphia. Other venues such as the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles and the Esports Arena in Santa Ana California have been operating since 2017 and 2015, respectively.