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“We have been given an exceptional facility to service our esports program. The installation was seamless, and the system assists in coaching and recruiting while positioning our athletes to succeed right out of the gate.”

Chris Gaul, esports director and head coach

Point Park University’s varsity esports program makes its debut this semester in a newly renovated space using state-of-the-art equipment.

Chris Gaul, esports director and head coach, will have an 18-person team competing in the National Association of Collegiate Esports Rocket League fall season, as well as League of Legends, in a 1,450-square-foot-space in the University’s Student Center.

The room is equipped with 16 gaming stations and three large-screen televisions mounted on the wall to highlight the action at any of the terminals. To comply with COVID-related precautions, alternate gaming stations will be used to prevent athletes from sitting next to one another, and each station will be cleaned and disinfected after use.

The University’s Physical Plant remodeled the space — which used to be a yoga/pilates studio — and worked with Point Park’s Media Services and IT departments, as well as outside vendors Extron and RPC Video. A new high-speed data network was installed and configured and multimedia lines were supplied.

“We have been given an exceptional facility to service our esports program,” Gaul said. “The installation was seamless, and the system assists in coaching and recruiting while positioning our athletes to succeed right out of the gate.”

In the first phase of the project, the University’s Media Services department worked with RPC Video — the AV contractor — and Extron to design and price out a system. The end result allows video from any of the 16 systems to appear on the wall-mounted televisions; an Extron touch panel was integrated, which allows Gaul to easily route audio and video to any display in the room. An Extron SMP 111 streaming and recording device was integrated to allow matches to be streamed live on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

Steve Obenreder from RPC Video began discussions with Fred Angiolieri, senior director of media services at Point Park, in fall 2019. Once they worked out a plan for the space, they began to look at manufacturers for the equipment.

“The manufacturer that took the most active interest was Extron. They offered advice on how their product would fit into our plan,” Obenreder said. "In fact, Extron worked out a deal with Point Park to use its XTP signal routing approach, which would offer the University the kind of system performance Extron felt was necessary for a seamless competitive gaming experience."

Angiolieri and his Media Services team did some of the general installation work before handing off the rest of the installation to RPC Video. Extron provided a system design engineer onsite who worked along with RPC Video to commission the AV system, ensuring it was fully optimized.

“Preparing our varsity esports program for competition this fall was a monumental task, and we could not have done without Chris Gaul leading the program,” said John Ashaolu, Point Park’s director of Athletics. “But getting the program to this point also was made possible by the extraordinary work by dedicated professionals at Point Park, and through RPC Video and Extron. This was a team effort on a grand scale.”

The varsity esports program kicks off competition in the NACE Rocket League at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 against Penn College Rocket League. The team’s League of Legends season starts Oct. 19.


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