As the esports market continues to grow to unprecedented numbers, more facilities are being developed by universities and real estate firms each year. One higher education institution, Butler University, has repurposed a vacant space into a 7,500-sf esports arena.
The Butler University Esports Park in Indianapolis, Ind., is a flexible space for gaming teams to train, play, and broadcast games. Built out of a former retail space in a parking garage, the Butler Esports Park provides a “transformer” competitor and spectator design—reconfigurable to suit more than gaming needs.
Modular Esports Arena Design
The collegiate esports space, designed by global architecture firm Populous, can be configured to host lectures, student gatherings, special events, and other academic programming, according to the firm. The Butler Esports Park even hosts a community café, coworking space, and lounge area for extended collaborative use.
The versatility of this space is due in part to the arena’s modular gaming stage. Sightline Commercial Solutions installed a 400-sf stage with portable platforms, supports, and ramps, that allow for event-specific arrangements. The Sightline team worked with the electrical contractor to discreetly build in electric cables for the park’s array of consoles, production equipment, and up to 60 gaming PCs.
Outside of the gaming hub, Populous included a tech-enhanced outdoor lounge, office spaces for partner organizations, and a video production suite. As universities continue to find ways to bring students back to campus, increase enrollment, and create community spaces, esports arenas have become a bigger benefit for institutions.
“Student participation/teams have grown significantly since our soft opening in August 2022,” said Eric Kammeyer, Butler University Director of Esports and Gaming Technology. “Community partners are eager to jump in, from coding and esports camps to event activation.”
Since its opening, the Butler Esports Park has partnered with three Indiana esports companies—Challonge, Beastcoast, and SportsTech HQ—and hosted several competitions. It continues to drum up interest from investors and gaming enthusiasts.
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