Ball State University Opens Doors to New On-Campus Esports Center

On Monday, April 5, Ball State University cut the ribbon on a brand new Esports Center on campus. The 3,611 square-foot Esports Center will house the Ball State varsity esports program as well as an innovative learning environment for cross-curriculum instruction.

The space features a 6-vs-6 arena with seating for 50 spectators and an interactive classroom with 24 PCs. Alienware PCs power the 12 competition and 24 classroom seats.

As part of the ribbon cutting, Director of Esports Dan Marino introduced the varsity teams for Overwatch, Rocket League, Valorant, and League of Legends. Marino also delivered his plan to fill the space with passionate players.

“We have a lot of competitive goals, the biggest is establishing the culture, the teams, the rosters, and primarily doing that through recruitment both off campus with up-and-coming high school students, community college students as well as our own Ball State Students,” says Marino. “It’s about building the teams and then hopefully rolling that into a championship.”

Ball State competes in the newly formed Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC). The conference was founded in 2020 by the 12 Mid-American Conference institutions and has since expanded to include Northeastern University. The Esports Center and varsity team will be housed in the College of Communication, Information, and Media.

“Our program and new facilities will help us achieve our goal of enhancing academic offerings by bringing esports experiences into curricula across multiple disciplines including digital sports production, business, computer sciences, animation, and sport administration,” says Paaige Turner, Dean of the College.

Also included in the space is a production control room powered by a Newtek Tricaster 2 Elite and Dante Audio infrastructure. Every PC in the facility and 12 webcams are networked via NDI to the Tricaster for production, along with three broadcast cameras. Two Studio Technology Model 205 announcer consoles allow casters to call the action of every event inside the room.

The four-monitor array behind the stage delivers large screen presentations of every event in the space, and flexibility for remote broadcasting of esports.

“The Ball State Esports Center delivers an innovative experience to students interested in every aspect of esports, from gameplay to broadcast to event management.” says Alex Kartman, Director of Sports Production. “The most exciting part is that everyone can practice their passions in this facility.”

The Ball State Esports Center will host competitions and classes starting this fall. Soon Ball State will also open the space to the community to engage anyone interested in esports from around the region.

“It’s a wonderful facility for our school, for our institution, for the conference and for other institutions,” says Goeffrey Mearns, President of Ball State University. “It’s not only good for our campus; it’s good for our community.”

The 3,611 square-foot Esports Center located in the Robert Bell Building features:

  • State-of-the-art computers available for varsity team and classroom use
  • Elevated Gameplay platform accommodating 6 vs. 6 esports competitions
  • Stadium seating (capacity 50 seats)
  • Interactive classroom with smart display (capacity 24 seats)
  • Lounge area with next-generation console play
  • Control room — hub for live, multi-camera and gameplay streaming of events happening in the Esports Center, and beyond
  • Office space for esports director and graduate assistants

Watch the entire ribbon cutting broadcast:

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