Editorial: eSports arena great move by Eastern

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Eastern unveiled its new eSports arena on Monday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring university President David Glassman slicing through the ribbon with a sword, signaling a beginning to Eastern’s newest endeavor.

The arena, which had a $60,000 budget, is housed in the student recreation center and features PCs, Playstation 4s, Xbox Ones, and the Nintendo Switch. It will house tournaments for students and also eSports teams that will compete with teams from other schools. It is also home to multiple TVs and pieces of furniture; it is exactly what an eSports arena should be.

We at The Daily Eastern News applaud Eastern for its new arena, not only in the execution of the job but also in the progressive thinking that Eastern is showing by getting ahead of the times and building its own eSports arena.

ESports is a booming industry. In 2018 a marketing analytics firm called “Newzoo” estimated that 380 million people worldwide watched an eSports event. The estimated value of eSports is expected to be over $1 billion in 2019 and is expected to continue growing, according to CNN. The NBA, widely considered to be one of the most progressive and forward-thinking entities in the world, jumped on the eSports train in 2018 and now has its own NBA 2K league.

Across the globe, people, businesses and organizations have tried to get their piece of this rapidly growing industry, and Eastern building its own arena and getting out ahead of many other colleges is commendable.

Many people speculate what the future holds for eSports, but the widely held consensus is that the industry is going to get more lucrative rather than stalling out.

151 colleges in the United States are members of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NCSA), and some colleges have even started giving out eSports scholarships and considering those who receive them “student athletes.” In 2018-2019, colleges across the United States dished out $16 million in eSports scholarship money, according to NBC.

The market for eSports is out there; it is relatively young, but it is growing fast. Eastern taking a chance on an eSports arena and whatever future that may hold shows signs of a university willing to look to the future and get its foot in the door on an industry that may soon explode with popularity in the college landscape.

The arena is as applaudable in practice as it is in principle, and we at The Daily Eastern News compliment Eastern on its undertaking.