After Warwick Esports, the University’s official esports society, were crowned the UK Esports University of the Year for the third year running, the University of Warwick have announced they are to invest £275,000 in a new esports centre. The centre will be in the newly named ‘Junction’ building, the place of the old sports centre on Central Campus.
Alex Petropoulos, Warwick Esports’ Director of Communications, told The Boar: “We are obviously extremely excited about the centre. But also proud. Every person who has played, casted, coached, produced for us, or contributed in any way to pushing forward esports at Warwick brought us closer to this day. So each and every one of those people should also be proud of this because it’s a reflection of the work that has been put in.”
Joshua Mankelow, current Warwick Esports president, said that the new centre builds on their continued success. The centre will be able to facilitate esports training and research and act as a competition venue. This will be the first centre of its kind at a Russell Group university and is hoped to rival existing facilities across the UK.
The university hopes the facility will serve both campus and the local community
On the use of the facility as a competition venue, Alex Petropoulos told The Boar: “The prospect of being able to host medium-large scale esports events on campus is crazy to think about – we could even host some of the best teams in the country to compete on our campus, which is wild.”
What makes the creation of the esports centre at Warwick unique is that such centres are usually tied to the existence of esports degree programmes, whereas the new Warwick esports centre will break this trend. The university hopes the facility will serve both campus and the local community, seeking sponsorship to enable the centre to provide coaching, training, and development activities to the wider community.
In response to what the society wishes to see from the new centre, Alex Petropoulos replied: “In terms of what we want to see from it? To be honest, we are most excited to see more gamers on campus. It is hard to understate the impact of being able to interact with people in person, and so the esports centre facilitating this and acting as a hub for players to meet up and hang out is really cool.”
One of the goals of Warwick Esports has always been to raise the profile of uni esports, for everyone in the scene’s gain. We are really hoping that the news of this pushes other universities to follow suit
– Alex Petropoulos
Clare Green, a Women in Games Ambassador and Creative & Digital Communities Manager at the University of Warwick, said: “The 2020/21 lockdowns saw several sectors like video games and esports expand, seize opportunities, and boom amid the crisis. More people turned to gaming and esports as an alternative to the gym and leisure activities that the pandemic forced to close. Video games allowed people to relax and escape from the daily stresses, managing anxiety levels.”
Jack Fenton, a consultant on the project and a co-founder and former president of Warwick Esports, said: “Considering the multi-disciplinary nature of esports, a vast range of external stakeholders have been identified that we are seeking to partner with. The University of Warwick Esports Society itself has already raised thousands of pounds for the charity Special Effect, which works to adapt gaming materials to suit people with disabilities.”
Alex Petropoulos also commented that the society hopes the news will attract even more members, and said: “I find it hard to see how we don’t retain our title as UK Esports University of the Year for a fourth year running.
“That being said, one of the goals of Warwick Esports has always been to raise the profile of uni esports, for everyone in the scene’s gain. We are really hoping that the news of this pushes other universities to follow suit.”