More than 174,000 Square Feet Available for Practice, Viewership, and Competition
Harrisburg, Pa., USA, Nov. 8, 2018 — A growing campus continues to support the efforts of the Harrisburg University Storm Esports Program. The university’s first and only varsity sports team, which was officially launched in Fall 2018, has come a long way since August when more than 100 players from all over the world tried out for one of 16 coveted spots on HU Storm. In September, Harrisburg University hosted HUE Fest, the largest collegiate esports festival to date, in which 32 teams from across the country competed for a piece of the $50,000 prize pool. In addition to being runner ups at HUE Fest, the 2018 team continues to tackle nationally ranked college teams in large-scale competition events in Hearthstone, League of Legends and Overwatch.
The latest investment in the esports campus is the dedicated practice facilities that are outfitted with the most advanced and reliable technology and the latest innovations in gaming equipment. With this addition, Harrisburg University’s campus now offers more than 174,000 square feet for small and large competitions, practice, live gameplay for hundreds of spectators.
Harrisburg University has partnered with many local and esports industry partners to make the dedicated practice spaces a reality.
- Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is positioned to serve as an extension of Harrisburg University's campus. With the state-of-the-art Select Medical Digital Theater and Sunoco Theater, which seats more than 700 spectators, and now the Storm Practice Facility.
- HP Omen has set up 30 gaming computers with 24-inch monitors and Nvidia 1080ti graphics cards for the ultimate gaming experience.
- Respawn’s ergonomic gaming chairs ensure player comfort and concentration.
- Murray Associates Architects of Harrisburg designed the practice space with teamwork and competition in mind. The segmented structure of the room, still with open concept and collaborative spaces, allow the team to organize themselves for any situation. The main focal point of the space is the 17-screen video wall that brings to life the gaming worlds they are competing in.
“This is truly a campus and community effort,” explained President Eric Darr, of Harrisburg University. “We believe that Harrisburg will be the esports hub in the Northeast, we’re already seeing the local and larger esports community embracing it. With cities like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC surrounding us, we are a great central location for gamers, fans and esports influencers. We want to be to esports what Williamsport is to Little League baseball.”
Harrisburg is certainly on its way, as the HUE Festival was recently named as finalist for the FestX Award for Best Esports Festival. Harrisburg’s HUE Fest is nominated alongside juggernauts like Blizzcon (Burbank, CA), DreamHack (Global), Esports Festival (Hong Kong), and GIRLGAMER Esports Festival (Portugal).
“It’s amazing to have our program and event recognized at this global level. I have seen and played at some of the most competitive arenas and practice spaces that exist, and what we’re doing at HU is on par with what professional gamers are doing.” said Chad Smeltz, Director of Esports at Harrisburg University. “This new space gives the team even more support to help them reach their goals - whether it’s to go pro or get a first-class education and play for a school that takes esports seriously, we are 100% committed to these student athletes.”
The Storm will use this space for practice and scrimmage situations. They have also invited many local high schools to tour the space and meet the players to be an example of competitive esports. As the program evolves, there are hopes to offer video game and esports camps for rising and hopeful esports stars.
About Harrisburg University Esports
Harrisburg University’s Esports Program (HU Storm) is the University’s first–and only–varsity sport. The varsity team competes in some of the most popular esports games around the world, including “League of Legends,” “Overwatch” and “Hearthstone.” Team members compete on 40’ screens in its state-of-the-art arena space and receive full scholarships as part of the varsity team. For more information, visit http://harrisburgu.edu/esports/