Where Gamers Play and Attendees Go To Watch

Turkey, stuffing, football and Counter-Strike. That’s what’s on the menu for a new crop of sports fans—or at least those celebrating the grand opening of Esports Stadium Arlington over Thanksgiving weekend. At an impressive 100,000 square feet, with state-of-the-art technology for gamers and attendees, the newest venue devoted to esports will be the nation’s largest when it debuts with Esports Championship Series Season 6.

Stadiums just for video gaming? They’re a thing. A big thing. Major dedicated esports venues are popular destinations across China and Europe. And since 2015, the U.S. has become home to several esports arenas with the promise for more to come.

On pace to surpass the billion-dollar threshold next year, esports is booming—and the world’s fastest growing spectator sport. There’s only a handful of athletes good enough to go pro, but every single gamer has a shot at becoming a champion in the world of esports. And more and more fans are eager to watch the action live and in person.

Beyond its massive online global reach through streaming, esports takes centerstage in stadiums around the world. The Intel Extreme Masters World Championship finals in Katowice, Poland drew a whopping 173,000 live attendees—about 100,000 more than the Super Bowl the same year. And the Beijing National Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, played host to 40,000 attendees for the Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship finals. Stateside, famed Madison Square Garden, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Seattle’s KeyArena have welcomed tens of thousands of attendees at a time for a variety of esports events.

According to market researcher Newzoo in 2017, there were 588 major esports events that generated an estimated $59 million in ticket revenues, almost double from the previous year. But converting stadiums and venues from holding traditional games to esports events is no easy task. There are the essentials required by a live esports tournament that go beyond just having enough capacity. Sweeping LED screens. Production facilities capable of capturing the action and livestreaming for hours to millions of viewers. And of course, the sophisticated technology required for gamers and esports’ tech-savvy attendees.

Esports is massive. It’s here to stay—and it’s growing in the U.S. Look for esports to make its way into more and more permanent venues totally dedicated to gaming and esports attendees vying for the ultimate gaming experience.

Want to see esports live? Here are the top esports venues in the U.S.

Esports Arena Orange County, CA
The first esports-only venue to open in the U.S. is in hip downtown Santa Ana, housed in a 95-year-old historic brick building transformed to accommodate a variety of esports competitions and gaming events

Esports Arena Las Vegas
Bringing an entirely new kind of gaming to the place known for gaming, the 30,000-square-foot multilevel arena inside Luxor Hotel is designed to host every form of competitive gaming, from daily play to high-stakes esports tournaments and features a competition stage, 50-foot LED video wall, telescopic seating, daily gaming stations, network TV-quality production studio and impressive food and beverage offerings from celebrated Chef Jose Andres, who also happens to be an avid gamer

Esports Arena Oakland

Oakland was selected as the site of the third location in the Esports Arena franchise for its urban vibe and easy access for local gamers to test their skills and the Warriors Gaming Squad to practice for NBA2K basketball video game matches

Esports Stadium Arlington

Now the largest dedicated esports venue in North America, the $10 million arena seats 2,500 attendees and features a production studio, custom LED video walls, training rooms, player lounges and hair and make-up studios

Inside Look: Esports Arena Las Vegas