Everyone seems to have an opinion about what should be done with the empty room on the first floor of the Friedman Student Union.
A couple of weeks ago, The Current Sauce reported that the administration would like to use the area for an eSports arena. This has understandably gotten a lot of attention.
For those unaware, eSports refers to competitive video gaming. It was mostly underground in the early 90’s, but due to the advancements of technology including online gaming, Worldwide tournaments and livestreaming sites such as Twitch has turned it into a booming market. Companies like ESPN have fully embraced the eSports market, and are televising events like The International Dota 2 Championship, Overwatch World Cup, and Evolution Championship Series to name a few.
Dr. Maggio had students come to him regarding implementing eSports to the school for years and has seen the potential for it. Maggio started researching not only what other schools do, but the popularity of eSports, with some major tournaments surpassing viewership of traditional sports.
This year alone, for instance, the Mid-Season Invitational for League of Legends saw 60 Million unique viewers tune in for the finals and 19.8 million concurrent peak views. Compare that to the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers with an average of 17.56 million and a peak of 18.47 million. Granted the viewership for eSports is Worldwide, but that opens even more opportunities for eSports.
While the eSports arena isn’t set in stone, one idea the administration came up with is to have it include casual and competitive gaming. This has the potential to be an area that can satisfy both needs rather than the misconception of being “a large computer lab where people can play video games.”
Maggio said he wanted to make sure that the “students and faculty are all on the same page, and [we didn’t] want to roll out something, and say, ‘Hey, this is what we are going to do.’”
Maggio hopes if this is the path that is decided for that area, he wants it to be around for a long time. He compared to the club rowing team as that started years ago with only handful of players, and now has more than 100 people that travel and compete with rival schools.
“We want our students to have opportunities they might not have at other places,” Maggio said. “I do think it’s the wave of the future, or the present now!”
Another area considered to be used as a multi-purpose area is the Alley. According to Frances Conine when she first came to NSU, the Alley used to be an old bowling alley with 3 lanes. It started to deteriorate and wasn’t very popular with students at the time. The Alley is also part of the major project of the Student Union’s reconstruction.
“I think there is plenty of space to do all kinds of things that will lend itself to lots of people,” Conine said.