Full Sail University Constructs New Esports Arena on Campus
Full Sail University unveiled plans to build an esports arena in support of Armada, the university’s collegiate level varsity esports team, as well as other professional industry esports initiatives. The 11,200+ square foot facility will be the largest esports arena to date on any college or university campus in the United States.
In early 2017, Full Sail began the design phase for the facility, and construction started in June of 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by early 2019. Known as “The Fortress,” the arena will be fully equipped with the most current technology to host collegiate and professional gaming tournaments, live esports streaming events, and will be used to explore activities including drone programming, possibly drone racing, and more. The customizable facility can support 1 vs 1 games, as well as 100 esports athletes playing simultaneously, and will include occupancy for over 500, allowing spectators to cheer for games live on-site, while remaining flexible for a host of uses. Professionally, Full Sail is working on cooperative initiatives with companies including MSI, Magic Gaming of the NBA 2K League, WWE as they evolve their esports efforts, and others.
In addition to the arena, a separate dedicated practice space for Armada will be housed on the 210+ acre campus and equipped with the latest in gaming technology. Here, student esports athletes will have the opportunity to train for upcoming tournaments both on-campus and on the road, taking part in events across the country and internationally.
With a proud history of offering 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 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, and The Fortress and surrounding initiatives bring formality to that effort. Currently, Armada teams compete in a variety of collegiate-level events in popular games including League of Legends, Smite, Overwatch, Rocket League, Smash Brothers, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and more.
“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,” says Ken Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer, Full Sail University. “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. In addition, these efforts support our establishment as a leading global destination for students who want to participate in the esports lifestyle as part of their college experience, be it as a top competitive player, a casual player, a social follower and fan of esports, or an individual selected to learn from our industry partners.”
Full Sail is a longstanding member of the esports community, having 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 (MLG) Fall Invitational (2013), MLG Call of Duty U.S. Championship (2014), The Madden NFL 15 Ultimate Team Championship Featuring NFL Quarterback Cam Newton (2014) and most recently serving as an official Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings location (2017 to present), in addition to having the opportunity to host the Florida Mayhem in their inaugural season (2018).
Full Sail University is dedicating over $6 Million of direct capital investment to The Fortress and supporting spaces and efforts, and many other indirect initiatives and investments that will benefit Full Sail’s esports community and partnerships. “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,” says Luis Garcia, Vice President of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University.
Additional information regarding sponsors, events, special guests, and tournaments will be announced closer to the arena’s formal ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled in 2019.