Harrisburg, Pa., USA, Dec. 6, 2017–Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (Whitaker Center) officially announced their first-of-its-kind collaboration to bring a collegiate eSports team to the big screen – a 40 feet tall big screen. With this arrangement, Whitaker Center will serve as HU’s official eSports arena, digital locker room and hub for all activity surrounding HU’s varsity eSports team.
All great teams have a home base for fans to gather, meet and show support. Whitaker Center will be hosting a variety of HU eSports events, including scrimmages, competitions, tournaments, meet-and-greets, conferences and more. Whitaker Center has the ability to host HU’s team live in large-screen format while seating up to 200 people in its Sonoco Theatre, as well as the potential to grow into the live theatre space, which can seat up to 700.
“We’ve seen the enormous growth and impact eSports has had in the recent years, and with Harrisburg University’s recent announcement to start its own varsity team, we saw the opportunity to bring that growth to Harrisburg and offer a fully-immersive experience for eSports fans,” said Ted Black, Whitaker Center CEO & President. “The facilities at the Whitaker Center are a game-changer for what traditional eSports spectatorship has looked like to date.”
Harrisburg University is currently conducting a national search for a full-time coach who has experience as a current or formerly-ranked world gamer, and the program is set for a Fall 2018 semester start. Whitaker Center will continue outfitting its facility in preparation for the first match.
“It was a perfect fit for HU to partner with Whitaker Center. Our students deserve to play in a facility that is commensurate to their level of talent,” said Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University. “As this program grows, we know Whitaker Center will grow with us. It’s a game changer.”
Traditional collegiate eSports venues consist of retro-fitted classrooms that are challenged to provide adequate, if any, opportunity for fans to watch live gameplay. The unique nature of the Whitaker Center takes the ability for fans and spectators to attend live matches to a level that hasn’t been met before. “The partnership between HU and Whitaker Center represents a quantum leap in college eSports by offering a completely unique fan experience that has never been done throughout the United States,” said Michael Brooks, Executive Director for the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).