2023 2023: UMassD unveils new Esports arena

2023 2023: UMassD unveils new Esports arena
UMassD unveils new Esports arena

Corsair Esports to play in new state-of-the-art gaming space

UMassD's quickly growing Esports teams have a new headquarters in the lower level of the Claire T. Carney Library, thanks to a corporate partnership with CDW providing nearly $40,000 of in-kind donations. 

Officially founded in the fall of 2022, the Esports club amassed more than 180 current students in one year, alongside another 40+ recent alumni. Until this fall, the club has been playing out of their own respective residences, on their own devices, communicating virtually via Discord.

"Driving equity and access through technology in education has been a major driver of the CDW Education team’s mission and how we serve our customers," said CDW Director of Sales for Higher Education East, Michael Durand. "Through our expanding partnership with the UMass System through the VAR (value added reseller) program, CDW is constantly seeking opportunities to align to and enable the mission of each campus. We are proud to partner and sponsor this endeavor with UMass Dartmouth, as this will have direct impact on the students, culture, and overall campus experience."

CDW donations funded the transformation of a former equipment storage room into a modern, branded Esports arena—buying 11 new gaming stations each equipped with Spectrum sit-to-stand desks, Genova gaming chairs, Lenovo computer systems and monitors, Logitech headsets, keyboards, and mice, and a Spectrum Shoutcaster double station (broadcast booth for commentary).

"The Esports arena is a great example of a UMass partner matching the mission of our university: provide excellence and world class education affordably," said David Cho, chief procurement officer for the UMass System.

"Because CDW is meeting all of the strategic commitments it made during a very robust competitive process, the firm is recognizing significant revenue growth. At the same time, it’s reinvesting some of those gains back into the UMassD campus. From my standpoint, it’s also a testament to our campus and IT leaders across the university system doubling down on partnerships designed to do the right thing." 

The new Esports arena provides both a space for team members and individual gamers to build a more inclusive culture, and free exposure to equipment vital to a burgeoning industry.

"Our students and campus are excited for this next chapter for our Esports teams," said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kimberly Scott. "In addition to competing, our students develop team building, strategic thinking, and communication skills. These students are a tight-knit group with a strong sense of belonging."

Esports, defined as video games played competitively between two organizations (at the college level: universities), has an international viewership north of 600 million people, more than Major League Baseball. Fortune Business Insights valued the industry at $1.45 billion in 2022 and projects growth to $6.75 billion by 2030.

"I am excited to see the university taking this important next step to support the Esports program on campus," said Assistant Director for Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership, and Staff Advisor to the Esports team, Stacy Ploskonka. "This is something I am passionate about, and knew we needed to start this program for our students."

This fall semester, the space will be open only to the Esports teams, who are nicknaming the space, "The Esports Resort," but Ploskonka says there are plans to grant all students access during weekdays in the spring, with Esports teams getting exclusive access at night for tournaments and scrimmages.

"I want to extend a huge thanks to CDW, the Unified Procurement Services Team, UMass Dartmouth, and of course the entire SAIL office for helping us achieve our goals and aspirations for this organization," said Corsair Esports founder and President, Christian Augat. "With this new space, our club will not only build fundamental skills like teamwork, strategic thinking, and decisive actions, but we'll also help point fellow students in the direction they want to take in the future!"

Students and alumni interested in joining the Esports club are encouraged to join the team's Discord server. To play competitively, players must be a current UMassD student with a minimum 2.0 grade point average.

UMassD students passionate about the gaming industry can major in computer science with a computer game design concentration in the College of Engineering, or major (and minor) in animation and game arts in the College of Visual & Performing Arts.

The Corsair Esports gaming space
The Corsair Esports' new gaming space in the lower level of the Claire T. Carney Library