University of Texas eyeing new arena dedicated to esports

State & Regional

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On game days, Texas Longhorn fans fill DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium or the Frank Erwin Center, but they could soon be filling a new venue dedicated to watching esports.

“I like to play sports that people don’t consider sports,” said Longhorn Gaming President Daniel Killough.

Longhorn Gaming is a group of UT students who have a passion for gaming, both competitive and just for fun.

“We would like to see Longhorn Gaming as the definitive place for any individual to come and play casual or competitive games,” Killough said.

Longhorn Gaming has been around for 11 years and continues to grow, just like the gaming industry. It has grown so much it just became a sponsored organization at UT, and with that, they are now looking to add a gaming arena.

“There is a noticeable void of an esports space on campus,” said James Buckley, UT director of facilities and operations with University Unions.

Buckley said that soon could change, however, as they are looking to remodel parts of the Union Underground — and an esports arena could be part of those plans.

“We envision 24 to 30 stations where players can compete and we will have a place people can watch,” Buckley said.

Esports, competitive video gaming, has been growing over the years and especially during the pandemic with some universities even offering scholarships. Texas doesn’t offer scholarships yet, but it could happen down the road, Buckley said.

“Once we get our space built, I think the interest and likelihood of that could grow as we work with our development office,” Buckley said.

For now, the focus is on the underground area of student union where students can play pool and bowl.

“In total we have between 3,100-3,500 square feet that we see potentially being developed for esports space,” Buckley said.

The entire arena build and upgrades are estimated to cost about $1.5 million.

Buckley said if they get the all clear, the arena could be done at the end of next year.

There are a number of ways to connect with Longhorn Gaming through their social media pages like Twitter or their Twitch page.

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