The latest addition to the esports landscape in New Jersey opened on September 2, 2023, when Brookdale College opened the Brookdale Esports Arena. The venue will operate alongside the college’s new esports program.
Brookdale Esports Arena adds to the esports higher education landscape
The new facility opened by the Lincroft-based college features 26 state-of-the-art gaming PCs. Six of these PCs are on an ADA-compliant competition stage. The arena also features an in-person seating area for an audience and a large display to enable spectator viewing. In addition, there is a broadcast booth and a console lounge where gaming fans can relax and watch events on big screens.
Brookdale College is the latest institute of higher education to get involved with the growing US esports scene. For example,
- The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) regularly hosts gaming nights and offers students the opportunity to try out for skill-based teams each fall. These teams then compete with teams from other colleges to win scholarship money.
- Stockton University has esports teams. These teams include the Rocket League, which recently came second in the World Championship Tournament. The university also runs an esports management
- Montclair State University has an esports association called the Cyber Hawks. It also offers a certificate in Game Development.
The prevalence of esports in higher education reflects the overall popularity of the industry. In 2021, the global esports market was worth approximately $1.1 billion and continues to grow. This growth is promoted by a number of factors, including the increased availability of high-speed Internet, the acceptance of esports as a recognized sport, and the growth of the largest market within the industry, esports betting.
In the US, the introduction of legal sports betting markets, such as that in New Jersey, is a significant contributor to the rise of the esports industry in the country. People have been able to visit New Jersey casinos online to place sports bets since 2018. The first esports betting was permitted in 2022. Since then, it has helped drive the growth of esports in the state, along with the rise in popularity of video games and events like the launch of the Brookdale Esports Arena.
The new arena is located on the first floor of the Student Life Center. It provides facilities for students and members of the local community to rent PCs and equipment on an hourly basis. There are also opportunities to rent the arena for events and participate in viewing parties.
The arena’s opening is part of Brookdale College’s overall commitment to esports and fostering innovation and technological advancement. It’s a cutting-edge venue that allows students to embrace their passion for gaming and learn the value of teamwork. This teamwork will be vital to Brookdale’s goal of competing at the highest level of college esports in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE), with teams being created according to game preferences.
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