UNC Greensboro (UNCG) is a public university with more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students. As the most diverse campus in the NC state system, UNCG inspires its students to begin their path toward a bright future, offering over 67 majors and holding student success as a top priority.
Prior to the pandemic, there was an internal charge led by UNCG Chancellor Dr. Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., who sat on an advisory committee for the NCAA, where he learned about the League of Legends World Championship. That knowledge helped him understand the potential positive impact esports could have for UNCG. UNCG began planning for a space to host competitive esports events, function as a learning lab for faculty to integrate gaming into their curriculum, and offer a venue for students to gather and play video games recreationally.
UNCG partnered with Horizon AVL and Esports Integration to help design and implement an infrastructure that would drive the success of the esports arena. Horizon AVL’s philosophy when approaching technology design is to consider competition, curriculum and community to support students in every aspect, including the opportunity to pursue a career in esports. To help meet these goals, UNCG and Horizon AVL selected Crestron DM NVX® AV-over-IP technology as the backbone.
The UNCG Esports Arena is 3,300 square feet consisting of 48 gaming PCs, three gaming console bays, and a VR Oculus Rift headset. Crestron DM NVX routes audio and video to create scenic elements in their game bases. The several game bays hold various consoles that can be plugged into the wall and displayed on the corresponding TV for each game bay, which is immediately routed with a Crestron DM NVX encoder. Crestron DM NVX was also introduced into the broadcast system to have full 4K broadcasting that converts the HDMI® signal to SDI, so broadcasting and streaming can happen simultaneously with very low latency.
UNCG utilizes Crestron to control the widespread use of game lighting throughout the arena. Within each game base, LED lights reflect the game’s status. A Crestron control screen allows the staff to recall scenes or manually switch the lighting to host different events or to celebrate a competition win. Outside the UNCG Esports Arena, there is an LED wall that can display live gaming streams or camera feeds that show the gamers in action. This setup allows all spectators to get in on the fun, even from the hallway. The commentators can also control these feeds from the broadcast booth and share different perspectives of the event.
UNCG is also using Crestron technology across its campus. While the esports arena was going to be a complex system, both Horizon AVL and UNCG knew Crestron solutions met the needs of the space and could also be maintained and programmed by student staff members.
Crestron and Horizon AVL delivered a top-of-the-line solution for UNCG’s plan for a new esports arena on campus. After the completion of the project, the arena drew more than 2,200 students in its first week and continues to be a highlight on every campus tour.