Dubbed the Fortress Sports Arena, it features high-end monitors and video production equipment, along with room for 500 fans, making it the largest competitive gaming venue on a college campus, according to Full Sail. It will be the new home of Armada, the university’s collegiate-level varsity esports team.
The Fortress officially opens in May, and Full Sail hopes it will help attract high-profile gamers to its campus. It wants to make Central Florida an esports hub, it said. Many schools across the country have similar ambitions, with many offering competitive gaming programs and scholarships. Ohio’s Ashland University announced in April 2018 it will be the first U.S. college to offer scholarships for Epic Games’ battle royale title “Fortnite,” for example. Full Sail doesn’t offer a scholarship at the moment, but it hinted to the Orlando Sentinel one might be on the way.
“Esports is one of the fastest-growing segments of the sporting marketplace,” Full Sail president Garry Jones told the publication. “This has become a global sport that is a big part of pop culture.”
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Market analyst Newzoo estimates global esports revenue will hit $1.1 billion in 2019, a 27% increase compared to the previous year, according to Reuters. North America will generate about $409 million of that revenue this year, the most of any region. China and South Korea will account for about 19% and 6% of the revenue, respectively. While advertising will make up the bulk of revenue, merchandise and ticket sales are expected to grow 22% to nearly $104 million.