CSU to pay Cleveland Cavaliers six figures to use teams esports facility

Cleveland State University launched a Division I esports program which kicked off its inaugural season this fall. The team entered a two-year partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers Esports LLC to use the Cavs Legion Lair gaming facility.

The 2,700-square-foot facility has state-of-the-art technology and hosts a view of Edgewater beach. To use this facility for the next two years, Cleveland State will pay the Cleveland Cavaliers Esports LLC a total of $175,000 in eight payments, with the last payment coming on or before April 15, 2024, according to a public record request by The Cauldron. 

“We are thrilled to share a top-tier space with a professional esports organization, a truly differentiating partnership for our emerging program,” Director of Esports PJ Farrell said in a statement released by Cleveland State Athletics. “The access to the Cavs Legion facilities, knowledge, and experience in our first season will dramatically impact our recruitment, training, and competition activities.”

Cleveland State will sponsor teams in Valorant, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Super Smash Brothers that will compete at the Cavs Legion Lair facility as part of the National Esports Collegiate Conference. According to a roster on the CSU Athletics website, the esports team hosts 29 student-athletes.

“As we set out to deliver a transformational experience for the student-athletes in our brand-new varsity esports program, there could be no better partnership than aligning with Cavs Legion and the Lair,” Director of Athletics Scott Garrett said in a statement released by Cleveland State Athletics. “We look forward to continued growth of an already strong partnership that genuinely benefits the community and one another.”

Cleveland State launched the esports team as part of the CSU 2.0 plan, as Athletics looks to use the esports program to help with enrollment growth and generate school spirit. 

“We are incredibly bullish on the future of esports as a way to recruit new students to CSU and to help create positive stories to share with the community,” Garrett said in a statement.