Kansas City Design Firms Leading Development of NACE Esports Guidelines
| | Thursday, November 05th, 2020 |

Kansas City Design Firms Leading Development of NACE Esports Guidelines

Local Companies Developing Framework for Emerging Industry’s Collegiate Association 


Patrick Ocampo, NACE, 816-595-8163,

Lindsay Santee, Populous, 816-329-4474,

Tyler Koonce, Henderson Engineers, 816-205-5400,


Nov. 4, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two leading Kansas City area sports design firms have partnered with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) to help develop official physical build guidelines for varsity esports spaces for the emerging esports industry that is rapidly gaining popularity, especially on college campuses. Populous developed the original set of guidelines together with NACE and now Henderson Engineers has joined to expand the guidelines for the only associate of collegiate and university-sponsored esports programs that promotes education and development of students through intercollegiate esports competition. Kansas City, long known for being the global epicenter of sports facility design, is putting its mark on the emerging industry.

NACE is a member-driven organization that focuses on the positive development of esports programs at the collegiate level and advocates for members to create varsity programs that include scholarships for its participants and a strong institutional commitment to the sport. NACE is the only association of college and university sponsored esports programs that promotes the education and development of students through intercollegiate esports.

The guidelines include tiered templates for the build-out of collegiate esports spaces. This covers architecture, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, technology systems, and computer peripherals. NACE is the official governing body in college esports, and since its founding in 2016, has grown from six founding members to now more than 150 colleges and universities with varsity programs in the United States and Canada.

“Collegiate esports is still relatively new, but the growth has been rapid in a few short years. As the largest varsity association in North America, we want to make sure this growth continues and a large part of that is in the creation of guides and resources for membership,” said Michael Brooks, executive director at NACE. “Much of the growth we’ve seen so far in institutional adoption of esports has been fueled by the data provided to us by our member institutions with the intent to make that data actionable by institutions who have an active esports program and those wishing to explore it. The great work done by our partners here has taken that data to the next-level with true professional expertise.”

“Populous has enjoyed collaborating with NACE and Henderson Engineers to establish a benchmark of standards and guidelines that constitutes a solid template to successfully build an esports facility and program,” said Marvin Mastin, brand activation team manager at Populous. “As interest has exponentially grown in esports among the student population at universities and colleges, this document provides the perfect resource to hit the ground running.”

“Henderson Engineers was excited to expand on the original document created by Populous to support this emerging market and new population of student athletes,” said Kevin Butler, sports practice leader with esports focus at Henderson Engineers. “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with NACE and Populous and showcase the design talent and knowledge in Kansas City by developing these holistic design guidelines for esports spaces.”

NACE has recognized Populous as the preferred architectural designer and Henderson as the preferred mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology designer. Esport Supply, a System Target company, who serves as the association’s official technology partner, outlined the computer and peripheral options in the document. Like Populous and Henderson, Esport Supply is headquartered in the Kansas City area.

Populous and Henderson are also involved in showcasing Kansas City as a hub for the esports market. Earlier in 2020, the Kansas City Esports Coalition (KCEC) was formed by the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation with the mission to use gaming for good by developing, advocating, and enriching the esports culture in the greater Kansas City area and beyond. The advisory council includes Michael Brooks, executive director of NACE, Jake Zinn, founder of Esport Supply, Marvin Mastin, brand activation manager at Populous, and Kevin Butler, sports practice leader with esports focus at Henderson Engineers, along with several other’s from local esports companies and organizations.


NACE is a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of member institutions and is the largest association of varsity esports programs in North America. NACE’s members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space. Areas of collaboration include: Eligibility, Path to Graduation, Competition & Scholarships, IP Rights, and Program Implementation. NACE currently represents the majority of varsity esports programs as members, accounting for nearly all varsity programs across North America. To learn more about our approach, visit, and contact Michael Brooks, Executive Director, at 816-595-8110 or


For nearly four decades, Populous has designed the places where people love to be together. Places like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics and, most recently, Fusion Arena. Philadelphia’s soon to be new esports facility, the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, best represents the rise of the live esports experience. We haven’t just watched the industry grow, we’ve helped shape it, not only with Fusion Arena but with other groundbreaking esports venues like Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas. Whether a retrofit or purpose-built, our esports work is driven by equal parts experience and innovation. To learn more about our approach, visit, and contact Brian Mirakian, Esports Director for the Americas, at 816-329-4520 or


Henderson Engineers is a national building systems design firm. We like to say our systems bring buildings to life. Our partners appreciate being able to utilize all our design services under one roof, with one point of contact. Together with our wholly-owned subsidiary, Henderson Building Solutions, we are truly your partner for the life of the building. Founded in 1970, we have more than 800 employees including 215 Professional Engineers (PEs) across 12 offices, including New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Nashville, Bentonville, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City (Lenexa, Kansas headquarters and downtown Kansas City, Missouri), Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

Esports venues are manifestations of the market, and our Henderson team thrives in thinking through the unique needs of a space, including Esports Stadium Arlington. With the added expertise of Henderson Building Solutions – our wholly-owned construction management subsidiary – we can also assess an existing facility’s condition to maximize current capital and commission the final product to improve its long-term operation. Just like our venues adapting to serve this emerging market, we’re taking our services to the next level with esports. Contact our Esports Practice Leader Kevin Butler at

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Henderson Building Solutions – a wholly-owned construction management subsidiary of Henderson Engineers – focuses on engineer-led design-build projects and commissioning. Backed by the Henderson national network, we use real-time data, leverage invested capital, offer investment-grade budgets, and deliver a functioning system. We offer single-source solutions for turnkey building systems projects.

For more information on #TeamHenderson, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.