Texas A&M Expands Esports Opportunities with New Campus at Former Macy’s Location

Texas AM Expands Esports Opportunities with New Campus at Former Macys Location

The university aims to create a state-of-the-art esports facility to cater to the growing demand among college students.

Esports, a form of competitive video gaming, has seen a remarkable rise in popularity over the past two decades. With its increasing participation and viewership, especially among college students, Texas A&M University is taking a significant step towards expanding esports opportunities. The university plans to convert the former Macy’s store at Post Oak Mall into a cutting-edge esports campus. This move not only marks a milestone for the university but also signifies the growing influence of esports in the community.

After Macy’s closure in early 2021, the space remained vacant. However, in August 2022, the College Station City Council approved a $7.3 million contract to acquire the property. Subsequently, in November of the same year, the Texas A&M Esports team revealed ongoing negotiations with College Station to lease the mall space.

A Game-Changing Facility for Texas A&M and the Community

Tim McLaughlin, interim dean for the Texas A&M School of Performance, Visualization & Fine Arts, emphasizes that the revamped space will serve as more than just a venue for tournaments and classrooms. It will be a symbol of progress for both the community and the university. McLaughlin states, “This facility, if realized, will be something completely significant for the community and the university. We would have a beautiful facility, state-of-the-art, setting the bar for what is expected at the collegiate level and making a positive contribution to the community.”

Seeking the Best-Qualified Vendors

The bidding process for the facility aims to attract vendors with extensive experience in operating esports spaces. McLaughlin explains that they are looking for partners who understand how esports can work in a collegiate environment and collaborate effectively with academic programs. The goal is to find a vendor who can provide operational expertise and contribute to the overall success of the esports campus.

Expanding Opportunities for Students

Aaron Thibault, director of games and esports for Texas A&M, highlights the educational aspect of esports. Beyond recreation, the university aims to educate the next generation of leaders across various career fields. Thibault states, “The opportunities are limitless, ranging from photojournalism to graphic studies, anthropology, technical art, software development, and computer science.” By integrating esports into academic programs, Texas A&M is preparing students for diverse career paths in the rapidly evolving gaming industry.

Bringing Legitimacy to Esports

Rick Allen, a teacher at Texarkana High School and commissioner with the Texas Scholastic Esports Federation, praises Texas A&M’s efforts in legitimizing esports. Allen believes that esports can provide an accessible and inclusive path to College, Career, and Military Readiness for all Texas students. He expresses his excitement about the university’s plans, stating, “Texas A&M is doing some amazing stuff, bringing legitimacy to the esports realm, and I’m happy to see it.”

Texas A&M University is taking a significant step towards expanding esports opportunities by converting the former Macy’s store at Post Oak Mall into a state-of-the-art esports campus. The university aims to create a facility that not only caters to the growing demand for esports but also contributes to the community. By seeking the best-qualified vendors and integrating esports into academic programs, Texas A&M is preparing students for diverse career paths in the gaming industry. With this move, the university is bringing legitimacy to the world of esports and paving the way for future advancements in the field. The deadline for proposals is approaching, and university leaders hope to have an agreement in place by April.