AP NEWS

Grand opening of University of Akron’s esports venues set for Homecoming weekend

October 4, 2018

Grand opening of University of Akron’s esports venues set for Homecoming weekend

AKRON, Ohio -- The University of Akron is ready to lift the curtain on the school’s new esports facilities.

The university will hold a grand opening of the venues Friday as part of this weekend’s Homecoming festivities. The facilities include: a gaming arena at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field, an esports center at the Jean Hower Taber Student Union, and a gaming cafe for recreational players on the first-floor of the Drs. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Honors College.

The gaming arena, where varisty teams in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Counter-Strike Global Offensive and HearthStone will compete, includes space for spectators and a television studio to broadcast tournaments and events. The esports center in the student union will be the home base for for the school’s 300 or so club-level players. The cafe is free to Akron students in good academic standing. Passes are available for purchase for community members, alumni or faculty who wish to use the cafe.

The three venues encompass 5,200 square feet and, with help from sponsors, were built at a cost around $750,000. The school claims it now has more space dedicated to esports than any other university in the world.

“Zips Esports is excited to offer student gamers at The University of Akron one of the first large-scale opportunities to gather and game in-person in a shared communal space,” head coach and director of esports Michael Fay, Jr. said in an announcement. “These facilities will enable the varsity, club and recreational players to get to know each other, collaborate around the games they love and contribute to the social capital of the UA campus community.

“When the University offers students the ability to engage with what they’re passionate about, those students will bring more of that passion to every aspect of their college careers.”

Akron, which launched its esports program this school year, is one of the first schools in Ohio to field varsity teams with gamers on scholarship. Esports programs are also offered at Kent State, Ashland and Miami University.

The grand opening festivities take place at Coleman Common from 2-6 p.m. Friday.

AP RADIO
Update hourly