As I was wondering what the best way was to watch an esports tournament, my first thought was to watch using streaming service. But, honestly, there’s nothing like watching a sporting event in person. So, I figured there had to be a venue or arena where I could watch an esports event. Here’s what I found.
What is Esports Arena? Esports Arena is a series of stadiums built for the sole purpose of hosting esports events. The first arena was built in October 2015 in Santa Ana, California. Currently, there are 3 stadiums, a mobile unit, and construction is underway at 5 other locations.
These arenas allow us to experience video games as we’ve never seen them; whether you’re exploring the vast world of League of Legends, conquering planets with Master Chief, or blasting friends in Overwatch.
The Original Esports Arena
In the early 2010s, esports hadn’t become the juggernaut it is today.
While there were some venues and tournaments around the world, there was nothing of great significance. None of them were designed solely for esports tournaments and competitions.
They Had a Dream
It was around this time that Paul Ward and Tyler Endres noticed the lack of excellent facilities and wanted to fix this problem.
They wanted a building whose only purpose was to host esports tournaments and a place gamers could gather.
Over the years, while trying to make their dream a reality, they hit several setbacks while looking for groups to fund the project. Thanks to their persistent attitude they eventually found the capital they needed! And Esports Arena was born…
It All Starts in Santa Ana
On October 5, 2015, in Orange County, California the Esports Arena officially opened and held its first tournament!
The first Esports Arena tournament was a Hearthstone Tournament with a grand prize of $20,000.
The original building was 15,000 sqft. and could be customized to fit any esports event or tournament.
When the original arena opened, there were 130 computer stations and 64 Xbox consoles for gamers to use.
Here is a video of how this amazing complex was brought into existence…
Training and Scouting
Today, the original Esports Arena still holds tournaments but has a taken on a reputation as more of a training facility.
Gamers continue to meet at the arena to grow their skills, meet other players, and hopefully get noticed by professional scouts.
The arena functions similar to a gym with monthly memberships.
As of this writing, the cost to join Esports Arena in Santa Ana, CA is:
- Recurring subscription membership costs just $10 a month.
- A one-time fee, without joining, will cost you $20 for one month.
- You can purchase a day pass for $10.
*More information can be found on the JOIN Esports Arena page
Since the original Esports Arena, the brand and company have grown significantly. And have been instrumental in building more facilities across America.
The Great Expansion
Thanks to the continued rise of the esports industry, Paul and Tyler received the opportunity to expand their company.
In 2016, they received funding by Allied Esports to expand Esports Arenas in different markets.
Allied Esports is an investment firm composed of five Chinese sports and video game companies.
The first stop on their expansion was Oakland, CA! The 16,000 sqft facility opened in 2016.
Las Vegas Baby
They didn’t stop there! Once the Oakland facility was finished, it was time to expand aggressively. They decided the next Esports Arena was going to be in Las Vegas, NV.
The Las Vegas project was a much larger undertaking!
Since you can’t do anything small in Las Vegas, they attempted to make it the most engaging and thrilling Esports Arena…EVER!
Thanks to a partnership with MGM Resorts International the 30,000 sq ft facility is housed in the Luxor Resort.
The HyperX eSports Arena held its grand opening late this past year in 2018. It quickly established itself as the premier destination for all gamers and tournaments.
Forget Blackjack and Poker
Forget playing blackjack or poker. Wouldn’t you rather play Call of Duty on a screen bigger than most homes? I know I would!
The Arena is open to the public; meaning you can pay-to-play on the various consoles and PCs.
There’s an NBA, NFL, or MLB stadium in almost every major city. Over the next few years, I predict there will be an Esports Arena in every major market.
What is the Future of eSports Arenas?
We should be as excited about the future esports as Mario is when he finally finds Princess Peach.
The future of the esports industry is limitless. Many people are predicting that esports will be a billion dollar industry by 2020!
To hit this mark and possibly exceed it esports needs to fully embrace the concept of arenas and stadiums.
Turn Fans into Buyers
With 385 million fans worldwide it’s estimated the average esports fan spends $0.33 a year on merchandise, tickets, and subscriptions…Yikes!
This amount is shockingly lower than a basketball fan who typically spends $15.00 a year. Obviously, the esports industry is still young and there’s work to be done.
To fix this problem the companies, organizations, and individuals behind esports to need to get creative with how they present their content and build something that makes fans spend money.
Having top-shelf facilities like The HyperX Esports Arena will be a vital step in raising that amount spent. These arenas will tap into the desires of fans, and they won’t be able to resist spending money.
A Different Fanbase
The designers and builders of these future arenas need to understand that the average esports fan desires are different from other sports fans.
Video games are built to be a social experience. We want to share our experiences with our friends.
Yes, fans attend tournaments to watch the matches, but it goes beyond that. If they merely want to watch a game, they can stream it. Going to an Esports Arena needs to provide a different experience.
Industry leaders compared Esports Arenas to a music festival.
People want to be able to move and see the different matches played. There needs to be an overwhelming amount of activities to hold everyone’s attention.
Get Creative and Cater to Millennials
Even the food, drinks, and seating needs to adjust to esports fans. The average millennial attending and watching esports events will crave different food compared to an NBA fan.
As a millennial, I can vouch for wanting more local and unique options. Including healthier foods and more craft beers.
Even our understanding of seating at sporting events needs to change with esports. An attendee will want to watch their favorite athlete, but the real action happens on screen.
Building seats that fully recline and positioned to view the massive screens are the ideal setup.
I can’t wait to see these future Esports Arenas that Allied Esports is building.
With technology advancing every day these future arenas are genuinely going to be state of the art.
What if I don’t live close or can’t afford to travel to an Esports Arena? Esports Arena recently launched the Esports Arena Drive. The Esports Arena Drive is America’s first mobile Esports Arena. It’s an 18-wheeler filled with all the latest gear and equipment any gamer could need. This state-of-the-art facility is currently touring the country bringing the premier esports experience with it wherever it goes.