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Level Up: UCO Opens Esports CO-OP Esports Gaming Arena

UCO Esports CO-OP logo on a screen

Aug. 26, 2020

Media Contact: Deirdre Steiner, Assistant Vice President University Communications, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2315, dsteiner@uco.edu 

Level Up:  UCO Opens Esports CO-OP Esports Gaming Arena

The University of Central Oklahoma continues its expansion into collegiate esports with the opening of the CO-OP Esports and Gaming Arena. The facility opened to the campus community and the public Aug. 17, coinciding with the first day of fall semester classes at the university. The arena invites interaction with local high school students and community members who are interested in the growing esports field.

The CO-OP, located at the former Thompson’s Book Store, allows Central to host local, regional and national competitions and gives the university’s esports teams a home. The 5,703-square-foot space houses more than 48 high-end PC gaming stations featuring high-fidelity visuals and equipped with RTX 2080 graphic cards for consistently high frames per second (FPS), two virtual reality booths, five Nintendo Switch consoles and a growing library of popular board and tabletop games.

The facility is outfitted with streaming and shoutcasting equipment that allows for tournaments to be broadcast live with play-by-play and color commentary. The esports arena portion of the facility features spectator seating, competition viewing display wall and team gaming stations.

The project was slated for completion last spring, but the campus closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the final work. The CO-OP was funded by university capital and facility fee reserves.

Esports, or electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games and connecting people from around the world through gaming – and it’s growing rapidly on college campuses. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) reports having more than 130 member schools, 3,000 student-athletes and offers $15 million in esports scholarships. Central is currently only one of two Oklahoma NACE member institutions.

Central launched collegiate esports in 2018 with a competitive esports club comprised of more than 350 members and credit courses in esports. The university hosts several junior varsity teams in the game titles Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Overwatch, Super Smash Bros Ultimate (SSBU), League of Legends, Rainbow 6: Siege and Rocket League, and varsity-level teams in CS:GO, Overwatch and SSBU.

The CO-OP is located at 101 N. University Drive. The facility is currently open to the public Monday-Thursday 5 p.m. – midnight, Friday 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. and Saturday – Sunday 2 p.m. – midnight. General public pricing for PC Gaming starts at $7 per hour, virtual reality gaming at $7 per half hour and tabletop gaming is available for a daily pass of $7. UCO community members can access discounted rates with a valid campus ID. The facility is also available for private rental for birthday parties, team building, and private tournaments.

CO-OP visitors are required to wear a mask and occupancy is limited to support physical distancing.

For more information about Central, visit www.uco.edu. To follow the progress of Central’s esports team, follow their varsity team accounts @ucoesports on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.

For more information about the CO-OP, connect with @coopgamingarena on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or visit coopgamingarena.uco.edu. Streaming channels on Twitch and YouTube are coming soon, as well as a Discord server for arena patrons.

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Editor's Note: Download art and video associated with this release at http://media.uco.edu/press/Esports0820 

Cutline 1: The CO-OP Esports and Gaming Arena features 48 high-end PC gaming stations featuring high-fidelity visuals and equipped with RTX 2080 graphic cards for consistently high frames per second (FPS).

Cutline 2: The CO-OP esports arena portion of the facility (pictured) features a competition viewing display wall and team gaming stations.  

Cutline 3: The CO-OP will serve as home for the university’s esports teams and allow Central to host local, regional and national competitions.

The media package also includes a promotional video tour of the CO-OP.