Conestoga news

November 10, 2023 8:05 AM

Conestoga to open esports arena

Conestoga will open a state-of-the-art esports arena at the Waterloo campus to support the rapidly growing competitive gaming industry and enhance student experience.

The new 10,000-square-foot facility will be strategically located within one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in North America and home to the college’s School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology. The space will allow for high-performance play, high-quality streaming and production, and innovation in gaming and simulation with top-tier gaming PCs, a premier console station, immersive virtual reality and simulation stations, a full production suite, premier competitive stage, and athletic team operations room.  

“The future state-of-the-art esports arena will provide opportunities for Conestoga students to play and learn using the latest and greatest technology,” said Trish Weigel-Green, vice-president, Students. “We are proud to invest in emerging fields of study, enabling students to gain invaluable experiences as they embark on their future careers. The esports arena is further evidence of Conestoga’s commitment to innovation while also demonstrating our ability to create positive and meaningful student experiences to benefit our community.”

The gaming industry is rapidly evolving, contributing more than $5.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021. According to the Government of Ontario, more than 55,000 full-time jobs in Canada, including roles for computer scientists, software engineers and developers, data scientists, and marketing professionals, directly supported the gaming industry in that same year, with Ontario being home to close to 300 video game companies - the greatest for any region in the country.

Last year, Conestoga opened a dedicated hub at the Waterloo campus to support the college’s growing esports ecosystem. The first of its kind in the region, the space hosts weekly programming, events, and open lab time to students, while also providing access to hands-on learning for students in Conestoga’s recently launched Esports Marketing and Event Management graduate certificate program.

The new arena will build on the college’s commitment to provide opportunities for student engagement and academic excellence while also engaging the broader community. Conestoga continues to work with Explore Waterloo Region through the Waterloo Region Esports Commission (WREC) to engage and attract top talent to help establish the region as a renowned esports destination and drive economic impact and growth.  

“WREC applauds the bold new facility design by Conestoga to further enhance its esports programming in Waterloo Region,” said Allister Scorgie, co-chair, WREC. “With a fully operational and very busy Esports Hub serving the campus for over a year, this new esports arena will greatly enhance the college’s and region’s ability to host esports programs. Conestoga is being recognized across Ontario and Canada as a leader in the esports space, and WREC is pleased to support the college in this exciting new chapter.”

The new venue will also support Conestoga’s competitive esports program. Launched through Athletics & Recreation in 2020, Condors Esports integrates collegiate esports into traditional post-secondary athletics and provides a varsity student-athlete experience with a growing roster of teams ranging from sports-based to battle arena genres competing in various North American leagues, including the all-female Valorant White team.

“Being a student-athlete has been a total game-changer and has greatly enhanced my college experience,” said Valorant White team captain Bahar Sadullah, a Computer Programming and Analysis student. “It has helped me grow to become a more thoughtful and effective leader while developing deeper connections with teammates and other student-athletes. Specialized facilities to support the Condors Esports program reflect the value Conestoga Athletics & Recreation extends to our varsity teams, and I look forward to the continued growth of the esports experience and strengthening our community.”

Conestoga is among the few post-secondary institutions that employ esports coaches as part of its varsity portfolio, allowing for significant organization, leadership and skills development. Esport student-athletes also have access to a holistic care program, team apparel and scholarship programs.

The esports arena, designed by Populous, is expected to open in spring 2025.

Condors Esports is currently inquiring partners to continue innovating and growing competitive esports in Canada. For more information, contact Kristen Bolliger.

To learn more about Conestoga’s competitive esports program, visit Condors Esports