GCI commits $500,000 to support Alaska Esports Center

April 6, 2021

Marmian Grimes

UAF photo by JR Ancheta. The Alaska Esports shed is where teams will engage in esports competitions.
UAF photo by JR Ancheta. The Alaska Esports shed is where teams will engage in esports competitions.

GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications company, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are partnering to bring collegiate esports to the next level. Through a 10-year, $500,000 commitment by GCI, UAF students at the new Alaska Esports Center will have access to lightning-fast 1 GIG internet speeds as they navigate the competitive landscape of games like Overwatch and League of Legends.

The Alaska Esports Center is the first of its kind in Alaska. It is housed in Wood Center and is managed by the Center for Student Engagement. There, students will find a place to play, practice and analyze electronic games, build a community and enhance their academic experiences. The center will host UAF’s soon-to-be-established esports team, which will join 170-plus collegiate squads nationwide.

“As the leading esports internet provider in Alaska, we leapt at the chance to connect the northernmost esports facility in North America and power UAF’s esports program,” said GCI chief marketing officer Kate Slyker. “GCI’s low-latency, 1-GIG internet is the ideal platform for the fast-paced world of competitive gaming and our long-term partnership with UAF will help boost Alaska’s collegiate esports athletes to the next level. Alaska is the First Frontier!”

The Alaska Esports Center is open to all UAF students and offers both competitive and casual gaming options. In addition to speedy internet, the center features consoles, furnishings and spaces designed for both team and individual gaming, and has a dedicated arena for intercollegiate teams to practice and compete. Visit the UAF Esports Facebook page for more information.

“Esports have been a staple among UAF students for years and interest has only continued to grow,” said Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs at UAF. “This partnership — UAF Student Affairs, UAF School of Management and GCI — offers incredible potential to enhance and diversify the student experience at UAF and complement ongoing development of academic offerings centered around the burgeoning business of esports.”

This commitment by GCI is the largest esports sponsorship in Alaska. GCI also sponsors the Alaska School Activities Association Esports program and played a key role in connecting the Providence Alaska Foundation’s Extra Life event, a long-running annual 24-hour gaming marathon fundraiser benefiting the Alaska Children’s Miracle Network.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT:Josh Edge, GCI, 907-575-3622, jedge@gci.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of the Alaska Esports Center are available for download at http://bit.ly/uaf-press-download. A video tour of the center is available at https://youtu.be/xfWQTS0r2ic and a grand opening virtual event is available at https://youtu.be/NGtk6yUiZNo.