Identifying with one of the country’s greatest natural wonders, it seems more than appropriate its university namesake would approach esports in a truly grand manner. Such success can be seen in the spectacular esports facility and program at Grand Canyon University in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona. And yet, it wasn’t until 2018 that GCU went “all in” on esports.
That year saw the founding of not only the Grand Canyon University Esports Arena, but the founding of the modern GCU Esports student organization. Student registration of 60 at the time of the opening grew exponentially, hitting 900 by the end of the following semester (Spring 2019). So rapid was this growth, the brand-new facility received a 3300 square foot expansion that now houses its current complement of 72 PCs for general student use, a tripling of console and lounge space, while also doubling the student workforce. In Fall 2019, the total number of new students esports registrations reached over 750 for that semester alone, while also boasting a Discord server community of over 1,300 active users. ▲ Wide-angle overview of the GCU Esports facility late at night with students and teams alike playing together.
Grand Canyon University students take esports seriously and broadly. Currently, 124 students compete across Varsity & Junior-Varsity teams encompassing: Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota 2, Rainbow Six: Siege, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, Fortnite, Apex Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Teamfight Tactics, and more. As with many schools, GCU’s attraction to esports had much to do with video games being a manifestation of STEM. Historically, GCU had provided a room and equipment for a small but dedicated group of students to compete in Overwatch and League of Legends. GCU leadership soon came to realize esports could create a community where […]
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