As the esports industry continues to expand and grow, more and more esports arenas have been popping up around the world.
While many larger esports events, like the League of Legends World Championship and Dota 2’s The International, are held in giant stadiums that already exist for major sporting and entertainment events, many organizations and companies are choosing to create arenas solely dedicated to esports.
Esports arenas have become important destinations for esports fans looking to not only watch their favorite teams compete, but meet up with other competitive players and fans, play some LAN games, come together for viewing parties, and participate in social gatherings.
A physical representation of Texas’ growing esports scene, Esports Stadium Arlington is currently the largest esports arena to date. The $10 million, 100,000-square foot facility opened in November 2018, and has hosted many events since. This includes FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series Finals.
The esports arena also features a Gaming Center with over 50 gaming stations, open to the public seven days a week. There are also areas for broadcast and production studios, team training facilities, and retail and social spaces for fans.
According to Populous Activate senior principal director Brian Mirakian, esports fans “want to be together for a cultural and social experience,” and he feels they have created the perfect place for that with the Esports Stadium Arlington facility.
While it may not compare to Arlington’s giant space, Fortress Esports is hoping to bring that same experience to Melbourne, Australia. Fortress Esports is set to be the largest esports arena in the southern hemisphere, with two floors and over 2,700 square meters of space.
The esports arena won’t only host tournaments in its 200-seat competitive arena. It also offers a gaming section with 160 gaming PCs and sections for RPGs and tabletop gaming. Fortress Esports chief executive John Satterly described the esports arena as a “home away from home” for competitive gamers, esports fans, and casual gamers alike.
Set to open in 2021, the Overwatch League team is planning on transforming a location south of the Xfinity! Live bar into an esports arena located nearby three of the city’s largest sports venues. The first of possibly multiple locations, Philadelphia Fusion’s CEO is currently focused on a venue with 700 floor seats, 2,300 general admission seats, premium seating, and club seats. More than 2,000 feet of LED screens will also be situated throughout the esports arena.
This venture is most likely inspired by the Overwatch League’s 2020 schedule, which sees the league moving to a fully global format. Each Overwatch League team will host games in their hometown, often in stadiums or esports arenas dedicated to the team.
Almost every LCS game is played live at Riot Games’ LCS Arena in Los Angeles, California. The LCS Arena has a vibrant stadium for fans to watch their favorite teams compete, as well as a shop and food vendors. Before each day of matches begins, fans will often gather outside of the studio in a parking lot dedicated to tailgating. Each team competing that day can set up a booth to sell or give away merch, and interact with fans through meet-and-greets and signings.
Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California had a similar esports arena for the Overwatch League before it was announced that the league would go global. The building is also reportedly being changed up completely thanks to Warner Bros’ recent purchase of the property.
With the 2020 global schedule, it’s more than likely that more esports teams will be building or purchasing their own esports arena in the future.
At 3.94 million square feet, Hangzhou’s “esports town” will reportedly have 14 esports projects in motion by 2020. This would include an esports academy, a hotel, an amusement park, and a hospital for esports professionals. The city will also host the 2022 Asian Games.
Operated by the Hangzhou government, the esports town cost $280 million to build. To expand the town by 2022 as planned, the town has a $2.22 billion budget. The first facility that is on their agenda is for LGD Gaming, becoming the home venue for its League of Legends team.
Esports Arena currently has three major locations, in Orange County, California, Oakland, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The largest of these is the Orange County venue, which launched in 2015. It’s a 15,000-square-foot facility that hosts daily video game tournaments in a variety of titles. While most are casual and open to anyone who would like to participate, Esports Arena locations also offer ongoing tournaments with points and prizes.
Large screens, various gaming stations, and even an open bar with alcohol and pub food, makes Esports Arena a popular hangout spot for casual and competitive players looking to prove themselves in their favorite games. This structure will most likely be used in more esports arenas in the future as the esports fan base continues to grow and looks to take part in the action themselves.