US communications conglomerate Comcast has announced that they intend to open the world first dedicated e-sports arena in Philidelphia, costing them at least $50 million. The stadium will be located in South Philidelphia, close to Xfinity Live! and will seat upwards of 3000 people at a time. The announcement of the stadium is a huge step forward for the legitimacy of e-sports and will be the first stadium made specifically with e-sports in mind.
The new stadium will also house Comcast's own professional Overwatch team, Philadelphia Fusion, as well as becoming a beacon for gaming events across the US. Nate Nanzer, the commissioner of the Overwatch league, said in comments to the Philly Inquirer "This is a huge step for esports. This is something we will see pop up all over the world.". While only time will tell if he's right about these sort of arenas starting to appear worldwide, it does do a huge amount to stop fans of 'traditional' sports dismissing e-sports so easily.
Mocked up visuals of the Fusion Arena show a huge area dedicated to seating like a traditional arena with a purpose-built staging area for running e-sport events dominated by huge screens. There will also be a training center designed to allow e-sport professionals to hone their skills in a professional and well-designed environment. There will also be a more traditional lobby and backstage areas to allow the arena to function just like any other sporting venue.
Construction on the Fusion Arena is expected to start this Summer and is expected to take several years to complete. The new construction is part of a huge development undertaking by Comcast in the south Philidelphia area which has also included renovations to the Wells Fargo Centre and a new 10-story office block.
What do you think about e-sports? Do you think this new stadium will help legitimize them? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.