‘It’s more than video games’: Esports center coming to Lakeland as multibillion dollar industry booms

In the rapidly evolving and lucrative esports industry, a career could originate from an unassuming “computer room” in a municipal building in Lakeland, Fla. (WFLA).

Lakeland’s recreation superintendent, Michael Marotz, exuded excitement for the prospective project, lamenting only its uncompleted state. “

Marotz spurred the ambitious plan to convert the Coleman-Bush building’s computer room into a thriving esports hub.

The endeavor arose from the city manager’s call for innovation, according to Marotz.

Although classified as “pretty innovative” by Marotz, the esports sector often perplexes laypeople who may regard it merely as video gaming. However, he insists it indeed offers much more.

Credit: City of Lakeland

The esports industry, which boasts hundreds of millions of enthusiasts worldwide, is much more than just multi-player video gaming.

The future MIDFLORIDA Esports Center in Lakeland is set to feature 20 computer workstations for players and teams to practice and compete.

Contributing nearly $75,000, the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union has significantly backed the center’s establishment.

Steering clear of violent or first-person shooter titles, the center will also focus on STEM programming, including modules on coding, video game creation, and data analytics, Marotz enumerated.

This multi-billion dollar enterprise extends beyond job prospects to include academic opportunities as well.

Institutions like Florida Southern College in Lakeland now reward esports performers with scholarships, a notion that would have been laughable six years ago, according to Brandon Parramore, director of esports at the college.

Parramore, who will advise the team spearheading the MidFlorida Esports Center, highlighted the financial potential in esports and its vast, multi-billion dollar market that requires numerous professional roles, such as streaming services, audio and visual engineers.

Florida Polytechnic University, which boasts five triumphant esports teams, takes part in several game titles.

Interns from Florida Poly will provide classes and mentor players at the MidFlorida Esports Center, revealed Lower.

Lower further explained that this experience aligns with the academic requirement for students to secure internships in their chosen fields.

The esports center aims to be operational by the upcoming year, with a scheduled usage plan.

Furthermore, the city also plans to procure two flight simulators in collaboration with the Florida Aerospace Museum.

The NAACP Lakeland chapter president, Terry Coney, enthusiastically supports any endeavours that engage the young population, particularly those aged 12-16, and keep them off the streets.

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