ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Less than a year after it was announced, Full Sail University has officially opened the largest collegiate esports arena in the country.
On Tuesday morning, leaders at the school cut the ribbon on the facility now known as the Fortress. Among those on hand for the ceremony were Full Sail students and alumni, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary.
The arena, built near the school’s Full Sail Live events center, features movable stages, LED boards, and tech to stream both collegiate and professional esports competitions to the world.
The Fortress is home to Full Sail’s esports team, the Armada. Members on hand Tuesday were still in awe of the building; that many of them had the chance to compete in at their first event last weekend.
"The crowd screaming when you get an elimination in a game: it is a whole new world,” said Bennett Newsome, Full Sail Esports Strategist.
Esports refers to the world of professional video gaming; a world that’s exploded in recent years with online platforms like Twitch allowing fans to watch the best gamers in the world compete.
Both Mayor Dyer and Mayor Leary spoke Tuesday morning about the benefit to growing the local esports scene and making Central Florida a leader in that world.
"Esports has just blown up so big,” said Dyer. “It's already a billion dollar industry and it looks like it’s going to continue to grow."
The university hopes to even host professional gaming competitions in the Fortress.