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Esports in Florida

Esports in Florida

The esports industry is all set to make its mark all over the globe since it is predicted that by the end of 2022 esports will be worth $2 billion [1]. Every region is playing a vital role in propelling the industry to remarkable heights. By the year 2021, eSports will have more viewership than the NFL in the United States [2]. Despite these figures, there is still an ongoing debate on whether or not we can accept competitive gaming as a real sport. No matter whether you are for or against this argument, we can say confidently that the eSports industry is here to stay in the long run and especially in the United States, where Florida continues to welcome professional gaming with open arms.

esports in florida

At the time of this writing, over 165 educational institutions offer varsity esports programs [3]. This just shows that competitive gaming is finally getting the respect it deserves. Florida is playing a vital role in the development of eSports as the state has established multi-million-dollar gaming arenas and also initiated in developing esports teams at college levels. These initiatives boost the confidence of young gamers to become professional athletes and also allows them to focus on their education. In this article, we will talk about some of the best universities, colleges, high schools, and organizations that are playing a crucial role in the development of eSports in Florida.

Armada

Full Sail University has gone all guns blazing in eSports by the formation of Gaming organization Armada. It holds some of the best teams of Overwatch, League of Legends, and Hearthstone. It is funded by students, faculty, staff, and graduates [4]. Its passion for eSports holds no boundaries, as the Full Sail University developed a gaming arena by the name of Fortress. It is an 11,200+ square feet venue with 500 audience capacity. For visual and graphic presentations, it has a concert-level PA system with over 9 million pixels of the LED wall. The $7 million gaming arena is sponsored by Logitech, MSI, and Draxcer [5].

Full Sail Armada

Gator Gaming

Gator Gaming was founded by the most passionate gamers studying at the University of Florida. Their passion is quite evident as they have won the Razer University Showdown, a tournament recognized by many as one of the biggest Varsity esports events in the country. Gator goes an extra mile for the love of esports as the University-Gaming organization hosts gaming events and tournaments at very low to no cost. GatorLAN is one of the largest free-of-cost gaming tournaments in the state and is also hosted by Gator Gaming [6].

Gator Gaming

UCF Gaming Knights

The University of Central Florida is one of the largest countries in the USA, and it is the home of the UCF Gaming Knights. The esports team came into existence in 2013 and is currently one of the biggest and most popular student organizations. The success of UCF Gaming Knights can be exhibited by their sponsorships with world-renowned enterprises like Monster Energy, Tespa, Smash, CEO, and Ubisoft. Knights currently hold multiple gaming rosters participating in League of Legends, PUBG, Dota 2, and Fortnite. They hosted one of the biggest LAN events in Florida, the VGN 2017-2018, which attracted 500 visitors. They are also quite generous as the UCF Knights raised over $150,000 for St. Jude Hospital [7].

Gaming Knights at UCF

Mocs Esports

Some of the best and most talented rosters in traditional sports are home to Florida Southern College, and the institution is now working its way to eSports. The college laid the foundation of its eSports club back in 2018 and now hosts teams of Rocket League, League of Legends and Hearthstone. Southern College has designed an arena exclusively for students that are passionate about gaming giving them a common place to share their passion with other gaming enthusiasts. FSC even has an eSports program that encourages students to follow their dreams of becoming a professional athlete, coach, or a streamer. In 2019 it offered scholarship programs for Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Fortnite [8].

Florida Souther Mocs Esports

Highschool esports in Florida

The passion for gaming is also welcomed by high schools since in 2019 we saw the emergence of the Florida Scholastic Esports League (FSEL). It hosts 35+ high schools and provides an opportunity for passionate gamers to play their hearts out [9]. Initiatives like these show how much the state of Florida is dedicated to promoting eSports in the state. We are confident we will see more high school leagues and tournaments emerging in the next few months.

Florida Scholastic Esports Federation

Florida Mutineers

Seeing so much investment, dedication, passion, and hard work of the youth. It is no surprise that big esports organizations are emerging from the state, and one of them is the Florida Mutineers is a professional Call of Duty League (CDL) esports team. It is the biggest COD tournament in the region where each slot costs approximately $25 million per team. The Mutineers are currently ranked 2nd in the league just 30 points behind FaZe Clan [10]. You should know that the team was just formed in December 2019, and it is great to see them performing so brilliantly. It is only a matter of time when we see teams and players from Florida competing in some of the biggest tournaments of Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike Global Offensive.

Florida Mutineers

Florida welcomes esports with open arms

Witnessing this meteoric rise of eSports in universities, colleges, high schools, and organizations we can confidently say that Florida is one of the best regions when it comes to the development of eSports in the NA. It's been nearly a decade since the state accepted gaming for more than just a hobby or a pastime. A vast number of Florida institutions are also part of The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) [11]. Its goal is to promote eSports on a college level by offering eSports based scholarships, tournaments, and competitions.

NACE National Association of Collegiate Esports

Only time will tell what will be the future of eSports in Florida and by the looks of things, we believe that things will surely improve in the region.

References

[1] https://esportsinsider.com/2017/10/report-esports-worth-almost-2b-2022/

[2] https://onlinebusiness.syr.edu/blog/esports-to-compete-with-traditional-sports/

[3]  https://nacesports.org/about/

[4] https://www.fullsail.edu/about/esports

[5] https://armada.fullsail.edu/

[6] http://gatorgaming.weebly.com/about.html

[7] https://www.ucfgamingknights.com/about-us

[8] https://www.fscmocs.com/sports/esports/2017-18/videos/20180131-x4d3la17

[9] https://flsel.org/

[10] https://mutineers.callofdutyleague.com/en-us/

[11] https://nacesports.org/what-is-e-sports/games/