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CMCC powers up new esports arena

The state-of-the-art facility will be home to a new esports team that will compete for the school starting next fall

AUBURN, Maine — It's competition from the comfort of a cushy chair.

Esports are gaining ground around the world, and CMCC is embracing the trend. The school converted a 1600-square foot room inside Kirk Hall into a place where players can congregate.

"We have thirty Alienware Area 51 Thread Rippers, which are probably the highest-end gaming computers that you can buy," says Andrew Morong, Director of Admissions. "We also have five console stations."

The room wasn't built for the causal gamer, it's an arena where a new kind of athlete is about to take the controls. The Mustangs are forming an esports team that will compete against other colleges around the U.S.

"We are treating esports like an extension of athletics, so the team will have practice times, a season schedule, national tournaments, and they are going to have jerseys," says Morong.

Thanks to technology, travel to away games won't be an issue. All tournaments can be played from the Auburn campus. Cameras are set up so spectators can watch the action unfold online or on a big screen in the school's gym.

"I honestly think it's going to be a great thing. I feel like it's going to draw in people around here," says Noah Gagnon, a CMCC student and avid gamer. "People who said, 'Yeah I just play games for fun,' can now give it a try on the competitive scene."

CMCC is also tying gaming into it's curriculum, offering an Esports Management program that will utilize the arena as a classroom.

"Esports is a billion-dollar industry, and is probably going to be a trillion dollar industry in the next decade or so," says Morong. "Being able to tie the athletic gaming piece with the academic piece is something that is really important to us."

The grand opening of the new CMCC Esports Arena is Saturday, April 6 from 9 am. - noon.