Brookdale to open Esports Arena, improving its position in emerging field

A new sports arena is coming to Brookdale Community College.

An esports arena.

Wednesday morning, the Middletown-based school announced it will be opening its cutting-edge Brookdale Esports Arena on Sept. 7.

School officials said it’s a significant milestone in the growth of esports at the school — which offers numerous majors connected to the growing field — and in society.

“Our state-of-the-art Esports Arena marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering innovation and embracing emerging technologies,” President David Stout said. “This cutting-edge facility will provide our students with a platform to explore their passion for gaming and teamwork, and we look forward to cultivating a vibrant esports community within our college.”

The Brookdale Esports Arena will be on the lower level of the Student Life Center. The state-of-the-art facility will house 26 high-end gaming PCs, with six on an ADA-compliant competition stage. A large display will allow spectators to view the gaming action, and in-person audience seating area will be available. The arena also will feature a broadcast booth for casters, a meeting and strategy room for teams, a front desk for guest check-ins and a console lounge area with big-screen TVs for gaming enthusiasts to relax and watch professional events.

Esports (business) play

According to the Esports Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis Report in 2020, the global esports market size was valued at $1.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.4% from 2020 to 2027. This surge is driven by factors such as increasing audience reach and engagement, significant investments, rising live streaming of games and improved infrastructure for league tournaments.

The Brookdale Esports Arena will offer hourly rentals of PCs and equipment for students and community members, rentals of the arena for events, league fees for community leagues, viewing parties during major competitions — and sponsorship opportunities are available.

“Our vision for Brookdale Esports is to strive for excellence and compete at the highest level in college esports,” Director Chris Boehmer said. “We will participate in the premier league for two-year colleges, National Junior College Athletic Association Esports, forming teams based on video game preference, and popularity, akin to traditional sports teams, while upholding eligibility requirements on par with other collegiate athletic programs.”

The program will engage currently enrolled students who may not participate in extracurricular activities, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

Esports provides an inclusive and team-oriented environment for students, including those with disabilities or who may not be as interested in traditional sports. It offers a competitive platform where everyone can participate and excel, regardless of physical abilities or preferences.

Brookdale aims to collaborate with existing academic programs that can benefit from Esports Arena’s high-end computing and broadcast technology. Departments such as graphic design, game design, communications media and computer science will have opportunities to enrich their curricula through esports, school officials said.

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