WMU Esports was launched on Jan. 9, 2018, with President Dr. Montgomery announcing Western Michigan University would allocate funds for WMU Esports through the Transformational Initiatives Fund—first introduced in the Fall of 2017. On that day Western’s WMU Esports goals were born:
- to create a community that speak to student interests
- to build a competitive technological environment for skill development and club sport competition
- to create opportunity for WMU to enhance student’s out-of-class experience
- to explore academic programming development designed to meet the projected industry career demands.
With the goals in hand, The Little Theatre on Western Michigan University's East Campus was selected and renovated to house the state-of-the-art WMU Esports Arena.
The Grand Opening was held on Oct. 5, 2018 and was open to both Western and the Kalamazoo community. The event showcased the arena’s 36 gaming stations, 12 of which are competition machines on a traditional stage in front of the 190-seat auditorium. The event also demonstrated the latest in technology showing how this unique venue’s design encourages interaction and supports competition-hosting.