Illinois Wesleyan University has unveiled its new arena where its new esports program is housed.
The converted conference room inside Hansen Student Center features computers, headsets and esports gear for up to 17 competitors. That includes a practice area that will be open to all university students for gaming during their downtime.
IWU esports coach Callum Fletcher said he believes the program will be a recruiting tool for the university.
“It puts us on the radar for a lot of students. I think our entire varsity team didn’t even know this school existed until we reached out to them with our esports program,” Fletcher said. “So being able to offer something like this at a school this good is fantastic.”
Freshman Ethan Pejovich from Minnetonka, Minnesota, is one of IWU’s esports competitors. He said he was surprised by the diversity the program has attracted.
“People in this arena so far have been from completely different backgrounds. All these people are connected by their love of gaming,” Pejovich said. “It’s really unique and I think it’s very hard to find a space like that in general, especially in college campuses.”
The esports program begins formal competition in January, though players are already scrimmaging against other schools. IWU will compete in the game “League of Legends,” which it calls a fast-paced multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) set in a fantasy world.
Illinois Wesleyan is one of 86 colleges with an esports program and one of four in Illinois. The others are Illinois College, Principia College and Robert Morris University.
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