Commercial Integrator 2023 - 18

PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT
Assessing Esports: Its Time Has Come
Technology fueled and inclusive of all people, esports offers an opportunity to empower people
who have too often been marginalized in competitive activities. By Alesia Hendley
HONESTLY, ESPORTS wasn't even on my
radar until the end of 2018, when massive
case studies from places like Harrisburg
University and Full Sail University started to
arise. I remember playing Sega, PlayStation,
and Xbox growing up, but, for me, it
was more about " Crash Bandicoot, " " NBA
Jam " and " Halo. " Now, a raft of esports
programs has helped take gaming to a
new level - a level where you can actually
build a successful career with esports.
I believe that these programs are lowhanging
fruit for our industry, representing
an avenue to get a new group of people
interested in AV.
I remember at ISE 2020, where Panasonic
had a full esports setup in its booth.
That was when the light bulb began to
click on for many in the industry, including
me. There is a real opportunity in esports
for AV professionals, and we had better
not miss it!
This month, while you're attending InfoComm,
you'll be able to tour the facilities
at Full Sail University. As of this writing, the
Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress
Esports Arena remains the largest collegiate
esports arena in the U.S. And, let me
tell you, they've set the bar high with their
state-of-the-art facility.
Developing Expertise
In AV, we're constantly evolving and
growing with the technologies we integrate
- well, we should be, at least. Over time,
AVI Systems' Arthur " Art " Danner has fallen
in love with this process, as well as with the
technology that facilitates esports. " AVI Systems
has grown its experience in delivering
and designing esports venues through a
combination of factors, " he explains. These,
Danner adds, include " ...involving and collaborating
with our vendors who specialize
in esports, staying up to date with esports
trends and technologies, and building a
strong and knowledgeable team. "
Putting it in a uniquely advantageous
position, AVI Systems already has a
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Commercial Integrator JUNE 2023
We should see the opportunities esports has created not only for AV pros but also
for children in our communities. It's on us to help lay strong foundations and create
successful programs, including developing a curriculum and furthering education.
practice that specializes in broadcast.
That practice, Danner says, has " ...easily
pivoted to learn and support this new
endeavor. " He continues, " Working hand
in hand with our partners, we have even
helped to talk about the culture of the
esports environment. " As a result, Danner
notes, all parties are now better prepared
to carve out a space that enhances
recruiting, education and innovative
gameplay. This is all part of pivoting and
growing through new spaces and new
technologies, which is what helps to keep
brands and companies at the forefront of
our industry.
Bigger Than Tech
Many of us are in the AV space because
we love to geek out. But the more that
I dive into esports and speak to people
like Danner, the more I realize that this
vertical is bigger than the technology that
powers it. There is also a major opportunity
for students themselves to thrive. " I
had several jobs before getting into pro
AV that worked around entertainment
and live events, " he recalls. " There were
a lot of interactions with the gaming
industry before I landed at AVI Systems. "
Unsurprisingly, then, Danner is passionate
about esports. " I want to see it flourish, "
he declares. " It was something I wanted
as a child, and I would love to see my own
kids be able to enjoy it. " Danner also lauds
the universality of gaming, noting that it's
" ...something that all kids can compete
in together, regardless of gender, age or
physical capabilities. "
In today's day and age, it's nice to see
competitions - for example, those involving
drone flying or robotics - that a wide
swath of students can enjoy. Danner sees
that in his own home, in fact. He says, " My
youngest kid can't physically compete
in sports due to his heart condition, and
esports would allow him to compete on a
team. And, to me, that's the special thing
about esports. "
As all of us by now can see, many benefits
have come from esports' rise. Likewise,
working within this vertical can be fulfilling
in many ways. " The prospect of kids obtaincommercialintegrator.com
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Commercial Integrator 2023

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