BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With esports on the rise on college campuses across the country, students at D’Youville University now have access to a brand new esports arena. Officials cut the ribbon Monday on the project they describe as state-of-the-art.

The esports arena is located on the second floor of College Center at the corner of Porter and Fargo avenues. For coaches and players who have been a part of D’youville’s competitive video gaming team since it began in 2020, the facility marks an important step forward.

“Started out with four students. Now we’re up to 21 players and five part-time work studies that help me run this entire arena,” said Mark Alicea, the program’s head coach.

Those original four students were sent to to compete at Roberts Wesleyan University, where the Saints won their first ever tournament. Years later, now boasting a roster four times larger and still growing, the program has a facility they hope will propel them to more trophies.

While the gaming world spans over countless consoles and companies, the new arena makes it easily accessible for all gameplay styles.

“We have high-end PCs, I believe we have ten of them, if not more,” said Joseph Frailey, a graduate student and esports captain. “We have every single gaming console, PS4, PS5, Xbox series X, all the newest things that can be possible out there. Fantastic internet, so everything is blazing fast. We have a huge projector screen that can be used for watch parties. We have chairs that will rumble with like music and so much more.”

The main goal of the $200,000 project is to help students bond with their university and gain life skills outside of the classroom.

“We would say that they learn to be on time and also how to be part of a team,” Alicea said.

Frailey said the esports program is a “fantastic community.”

“If you’re a hardcore gamer and you want to get into leagues, you can. If you want to just play when you want to between classes absolutely, come down,” Frailey said. “We’re just trying to grow a community here. You don’t have to be the best of the best if you just like gaming and want to have a good time or just want to unwind from your classes or anything like that please come down. It’s a fantastic space, the community is fantastic.”

Latest Local News

Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.