INDIANAPOLIS - Butler University is ready to do battle in the esports arena.  A billion-dollar industry, esports has exploded in popularity at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. The university has dedicated space on campus to the video-gaming sport.

The Esports and Gaming Lounge is set to open in late November, according to Butler officials. The university says it will be in Atherton Union, adjacent to the newly designed Plum Market at C-Club, set to open around the same time.

“Gaming is extremely popular among students, and its popularity will only continue to grow,” says Butler’s Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Ross. “Universities must be responsive to students’ changing needs and interests, identifying innovative and meaningful ways to engage them on campus.”

But the institution says this is just the beginning. The school says it plans to build a 7,500 square foot multi-use space for esports in the spot where Metro Diner was located until it closed last March.

“While competitive and recreational esports is a key driver of this new space, our vision is larger,” says Butler’s Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Melissa Beckwith. “Our goal is to create a space that will ultimately support curricular innovation, serve the K-12 community, and align with two of the city’s economic engines—sports and technology.”

The university says the competition space is slated to open fall 2020. It will feature 50 gaming PCs, an area of gaming consoles, and room for technology-infused corporate training and events or youth STEM and esports camps.