To further grow the presence and reach of esports on campus, Butler University recently opened its new Esports Park in October 2022 for students and the community.
Eric Kammeyer, the director of Esports and Gaming Technology, said the 7,500-square-foot facility will serve as a hub for the tech, gaming and academic communities in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“It’s not just where esports are played — it’s where they come to life,” said Kammeyer. “For everyone interested in the vibrant world of esports, our Esports Park is where you can connect with peers, make friends and hone your skills.”
Features and Project Timeline
Kammeyer said the state-of-the-art facility has the following amenities for visitors:
- 36 high-tech gaming PCs.
- Multiple stage screens.
- Event and coworking spaces.
- Studio and production room.
- Offices for partner organizations.
- Lounge with couches and table spaces.
- Patio area.
The project was first proposed in the 2018-2019 school year before being officially approved in Fall 2019. However, Kammeyer said it was paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then reapproved in August 2021 and eventually completed in time for Fall 2022.
Kammeyer said the following entities played a role in making the idea a reality: Strategy and Innovation; Student Affairs; College of Communications; Information Technology; Arts, Events and Business Enterprises.
“Student participation/teams have grown significantly since our soft opening in August 2022,” said Kammeyer. “Community partners are eager to jump in from coding and esports camps to event activation. We are happy to accommodate them all.”
For students, membership to the park is $25 per semester. Faculty, staff, affiliates and alumni can purchase a membership for $20 per month, and community members can select either an hourly ($6), monthly ($25) or annual ($250) plan.
Takeaways and Advice
Kammeyer said the space will benefit students and the university in three ways: curriculum, competition and community.
“We have started with a minor in esports communication with foundations in business,” said Kammeyer. “We see the curriculum being expanded to additional colleges to provide for career placement in esports and adjacent industries. This provides our students a facility with high-end production and in-person viewing. We will continue to expand our hosting capabilities for high school, community centers, collegiate and professional esports activities.”
Challonge, a software-as-a-service company, and Beastcoast, a leading esports organization and gaming content network, are assisting with curricular and community activations in esports competitions and production.
For other schools considering adding a space made specifically for esports, Kammeyer said to research, plan and be persistent.
“Find the departments that will support and champion the initiative,” said Kammeyer. “Make sure your positioning connects to the mission and vision of the university and the community you serve.”
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