Warwick to invest £275,000 in new esports centre
The uni is the UK Esports University of the Year for the third successive year
The University of Warwick has announced it is investing £275,000 into establishing a new flexible esports centre, right at the heart of campus.
The new centre will act as a training and research facility into esports, and provide a medium-sized esports competition venue. It will be the first of its kind at a Russell Group university, and Warwick hopes the facility will offer bespoke coaching, training and development activities that will be accessible to both its campus and the wider community.
The announcement follows the news last month that Warwick has retained its title of UK Esports University of the Year, for the third year in a row. Joshua Mankelow, current President of the student-run Warwick Esports Society said of the win: “Our first two wins were great on their own, but this third win really allows us to say we’re creating a legacy in university esports. A legacy of excellence and sportsmanship that future students will be inspired to surpass.”
Esports is a form of team-play competition using video games, watched by millions every single day. A recent world esports final of League of Legends garnered 3.8 million concurrent viewers.
The esports industry benefited greatly from the recent pandemic, as Clare Green, a Women in Games Ambassador and Creative & Digital Communities Manager at the university explained: “The 2020/21 lockdowns saw several sectors like video games and esports expand, seize opportunities and boom amidst the crisis. More people turned to gaming and esports as an alternative to the gym, allowing people to relax and escape from the daily stresses.”
It is hoped that the centre will bring economic benefits to Warwickshire, such as jobs and tourism opportunities, as well as providing greater opportunities for skills development and support for young people and community groups.
Jack Fenton, a consultant on the project and a past President and co-founder of the Warwick Esports Society, said: “Considering the multi-disciplinary nature of esports, a vast range of external stakeholders have been identified that we are seeking to partner with. These represent external bodies that include corporate organisations, those committed to equality and diversity, national organisations that promote esports, regional & national skills councils, local schools and charities.
“The University of Warwick Esports Society itself has already raised thousands of pounds for the charity Special Effect, which work to adapt gaming materials to suit people with disabilities. Using these great foundations, we want to continue to foster relationships that help promote diversity and inclusion in esports.”
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