There is no denying that eSports has become a huge industry. With so many watching from home all over the world, it’s hard not to see it. If watching from home wasn’t enough, purpose built arenas are starting to pop up wherever eSports is popular. The business of eSports arenas is starting to boom. Many of the facilities today are quite modest but so did early baseball and soccer stadiums.
The world of competitive video gaming changes constantly. There are new opportunities for fans to enjoy eSports all over. So, let’s take a look at the world’s leading eight eSports arenas, but first – what are eSports arenas?
How Do You Define an eSports Arena?
eSports arenas are, for all intents and purposes, official stadiums where eSports events can be hosted. Many teams in the Overwatch League have dedicated eSports spaces. Many of these could be considered arenas. These eSports arenas host some of the biggest events in competitive video gaming, but they also function as community centers. Gamers can come together as a community to play, practice, or watch. Today, we will take a look at some of the best eSports arenas currently in use or under construction throughout the world.
OverActive Media’s Arena, Toronto
One of the biggest eSports arenas currently under construction is the Toronto eSports Arena. It is being built by OverActive media and is set to be one of the most significant additions to the eSports landscape. It’s estimated cost will be $500 million and projected to be completed in 2025. The venue will be massive with a capacity of 7,000 spectators. While eSports have been accommodated in NBA and NFL stadiums in the past, this will be the first fully eSports-driven arena of its kind that will focus exclusively on eSports.
Philadelphia Fusion’s eSports Arena
The Philly Fusion Arena is another great landmark on the map. It’s hosting the Overwatch League Philadelphia Fusion and it has the capacity of setting up some 2,300 people which is a very respectable capacity. The Fusion is drawing huge crowds for its OWL performance and the Fusion Arena is a landmark in competitive gaming.
eSports Stadium Arlington
The eSports Stadium Arlington was once billed as the world’s biggest eSports arena. Of course, this is no longer the case. Regardless, the 2,500-seat, 100,000 sq ft arena is an outstanding facility that will make sure you are having the time of your life. Arlington combines a community center and competitive facility. Rank-and-file eSports players can come to play casual games with friends and also enjoy high-tier tournaments when they are being played.
Copper Box Arena, London
If you are really looking for a massive eSports arena, London’s Copper Box is in a class by itself. Copper Box Arena seats 4,000 fans and the stadium has already served as the hosting grounds of many major eSports tournaments, including:
- Starcraft 2
- Call of Duty
There are numerous upcoming eSports events that will resonate with the larger fan base. The facility has hosted some excellent events stretching from $100,000 to $1 million in prize money.
You may have heard about the KeyArena in Seattle back in 2014. The venue played host to The Dota 2 International and sold out all 10,000 seats. That was the first time the media started to realize that in-person video gaming competitions would be a large draw and that they are not going anywhere.
Well, for better or for worse, eSports events really are part of the competitive landscape and the KeyArena is a great place where fans converge to watch some of their favorite eSports competitions. Following its success with The International in ’14, the arena has been hosting numerous other eSports competitions.
Staples Center, LA
For an even more massive experience, the Staples Center in Los Angeles is home to the LA Kings, Lakers, numerous concerts, and, now, eSports events. The arena hosted 12,000 eSports fans during the 2013 League of Legends World Championship and has repeatedly hosted other tournaments events.
Wembley Arena, London
Similar to the Staples Center, Wembley has hosted eSports tournaments. This has proven to be an excellent use of the facility. Riot Games hosted several events over the years including the League of Legends League Championship Series (LCS). There is even a dedicated area of the facility called the ‘LCS Wembley Arena’ used by Riot Games to hold its events.
Sang-am World Cup Stadium, Seoul
The Sang-am World Cup Stadium in Seoul has had many purposes since it was constructed to host the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Unlike other venues built for a specific event the 45,000-seater has transitioned to accommodate one of South Korea’s highest-grossing industries, eSports. The stadium was used by Riot Games to host the League of Legends World Championship in 2014, making it one of the biggest eSports arenas on record.
The construction of fully dedicated eSports stadiums is the logical next step for the industry as a whole. Streaming and other online watch strategies will always hold a place in the landscape of eGaming, but in person spectating will also be important in the future. After all, millions watch the Superbowl on TV, but true fans want to see their team win live.