North Carolina State University has received a $16 million grant from the state government to establish esports facilities on its campus.

Photo credit: NC State University

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Approximately $12 million will be allocated towards an on-campus esports arena while $4 million will be put towards building a mobile gaming center or “esports truck,” according to NC State’s student newspaper Technician.

The arena is said to offer students “hands-on learning experiences” in computer science and game design, as well as for those outside its esports and gaming community. This includes allowing hospitality management students the opportunity to plan esports events through the facility while social science circles can research the effects of esports on gamers.

The university’s esports club competes in eight game titles and has between 150 and 200 active members. NC State’s Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Marc Hoit leads the university’s esports initiative.

Hoit told the Technician: “We’re building up a network of people who are anxious to use the laboratory, if you will, and go ahead and do what we do best as an educational institution. My goal is to make the facility a shared activity.”

The funding for NC State’s esports facilities comes from a state initiative to cultivate esports in North Carolina. In November, Roy Cooper – the state’s governor – announced a $5m Esports Industry Grant Fund in collaboration with the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau to encourage esports events and productions in the state. 

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In December, the Raleigh Convention Center hosted the Halo Championship Series Raleigh Major, in which more than 200 different teams competed for a total of $350,000 in prize winnings.

NC State’s esports arena is expected to open before 2024. The university plans to construct a pilot version of the facilities in the interim to increase student interest and gather input on its design.

Esports Insider says: The $16m in funding from the state’s government should establish North Carolina State University’s esports facility as the most expensive in the country – and perhaps the world – in the collegiate sector. High schools and colleges globally are getting behind esports at an increasing rate, but NC State’s commitment has taken this trend to an entirely new level.

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