The Next Generation of e-Sports Stadiums

There’s a new kid on the block in the world of stadiums and it’s not who you might expect. When we think of sports stadiums we think of playing fields designed for football, rugby, baseball, cricket, tennis and other popular physical sports. There is usually seating for thousands of eager spectators in the biggest examples, along with space for changing rooms, food courts, VIP boxes and training areas.

However, with the meteoric rise of e-sports gaming in recent years, there has been a massive increase in demand for new stadiums which cater to the specificities of on-screen matches. Asian countries like Korea, Malaysia and China are leading the way, but the USA has big plans to create a whole new wave of purpose-built e-sports stadiums of their own. This new approach to both sport and gaming continues to grow across the globe month after month, year after year, and looks to be sticking around for a long time to come if the attendance figures are anything to go by.

First Ever e-Sports Stadiums

One of the first ever purpose-built e-sports stadiums in the world was constructed in the Chongqing area of China in 2017-18. It is called the Zhongxian E-sports Stadium and it can seat up to 7000 dedicated gaming fans within the main arena, with space for a further 13 000 people in an outdoor plaza and other areas. Although this is still less than the numbers found in the world’s biggest sports stadiums, it is an impressive start.

The building itself also transforms into an enormous viewing screen for those without tickets who are watching from the outside. The walls themselves are lined with LED screens, meaning that gameplay can be projected to anyone standing in the open air. For anybody who has already attended an e-sports match in person, this will make sense as a way to accommodate the fluctuating nature of the crowd. Space needs to be flexible with the main focus remaining firmly on the screens showing up-to-the-minute gameplay.

Zhongxian has set the bar high when it comes to e-sports stadiums, with a luxury hotel and training centre being built right next to the arena itself. It will be interesting to see how this design is developed over the coming years, just as Zhongxian developed from earlier designs like Seoul’s Yongsan e-Sports Stadium built in 2005.

Biggest e-Sports Stadium in the USA

The unveiling of E-sports Stadium Arlington in November last year saw the biggest e-sports arena in North America open for business. With seating for 2500 fans and 100 000 square feet of space at its disposal, this structure shows just how seriously e-sports are now being taken the world over. The stadium cost $10 million to build but expects to eclipse that figure with its takings as it cashes in on the billion-dollar e-sports industry that is taking the industry by storm.

Unlike the Zhongxian Stadium in China, Arlington does not offer a viewing screen that covers the entire building. However, it does have an LED screen wall that spans 85 feet within the main viewing arena, and up-to-date technology that’s bound to impress. The venue’s debut saw 233, 950 event streams take place, proving that this investment was worth every penny. It also hints at the promise of even more growth as the West starts to catch up with the super-fans of the East.

The Future for e-Sports

Whilst at home I might ordinarily turn to favourites like the New Yorker weekday crossword, the range of activities at PokerStarsCasino, or real science projects on Zooniverse to keep me entertained. However, restricting on-screen playtime to the home and personal handheld devices will soon be a thing of the past. With the popularity of e-sports events like Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter Strike and Call of Duty creating millions of dollars-worth of revenue, it’s safe to say that a trip to the e-sports stadium will soon become the norm everywhere.

Educational establishments across North America are even investing in building small arenas of their own and offering e-sports programs to students. The University of Washington and The Ohio State University are two such establishments, along with The University of North Texas and Full Sail University. It could be that e-sports scholarships soon become as important, as populous and as lucrative as traditional American sports scholarships at schools up and down the country. This will lead to greater numbers of expertly trained competitors playing more exciting games and garnering the interest of legions of loyal fans.

There is talk of including e-sports in the internationally renowned Olympic Games, so it’s easy to see how enthusiasm for this on-screen phenomenon is spreading far and wide. We can’t be 100% sure what the future of e-sports looks like at the moment, but we can be sure that it will be bright.

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