VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will celebrate a new Esports Arena with a grand opening at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Following the grand opening will be an open house from 5-8 p.m. and team tryouts from 8-11 p.m.
The newly renovated, expansive room in McKusick Technology Center includes 24 state-of-the-art computer stations and two large TVs surrounded by lounge furniture complete with game consoles like Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.
It provides a space for the USD Esports Team to practice, compete against one another and participate in regional and national online competitions.
“The arena allows individuals to access games that they would otherwise be unable to without the high-end PCs,” said Derek Bierschbach, founder and graduate assistant of the USD Esports Team. “The space allows for much more camaraderie and team building than we have had before, with players being able to practice and compete in the same space as their teammates and spend more time with them.”
The USD Esports Team, founded in 2018, is led by students and consists of over 60 active players. The team currently participates in the Collegiate Starleague (CSL) League of Legends, Madden, Rocket League, Counter Strike and Fortnite competitions. Students also have the opportunity to compete in Hearthstone, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Rainbox 6: Siege and Valorant.
The team will hold tryouts for multiple games throughout the month of September, after which weekend competitions will begin and run through October.
Bierschbach said that in Madden, the team hopes to make a comeback as CSL champions. In Rocket League, League of Legends and Madden, they will work toward qualifying for playoffs and regional finals.
“In our other games, we are just starting out competitively, and we hope to build a good base to be competitive in games and focus on improvement,” Bierschbach said. “After tryouts, we hope to have enough information to build teams comprised of teammates that mesh well with each other and have a high skill level.”
Learn more about USD Esports at usd.edu/esports.