Philadelphia to get a $50 million esports arena
Gamers in Philadelphia can soon look forward to enjoying the first purpose-built esports stadium in the whole of the USA. The $50 million project is being organised by Comcast Spectator who are a sports and entertainment company who own the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey team and also run the Philadelphia Fusion Overwatch esports team.
From summer 2019, there will be extensive work in constructing the 47-acre stadium in South Philadelphia. This will create a purpose-built 3,500 seat arena that will host some of the biggest esports tournaments in the world. The main focus of the entertainment at the new esports arena will be the exploits of the Philadelphia Fusion esports team, but it’s also hoped that the stadium will also be a hotspot for competitive gaming on the East coast too.
Comcast Spectator have already unveiled plenty of exciting new projects in the area that include a 10-storey office tower, as well as the Xfinity Live entertainment and dining hub. It’s all part of the company’s plan to make the city of Philadelphia an important part of the rapidly growing competitive gaming scene. It has been estimated that over 400,000 people in the city’s television market play Overwatch, and it’s hoped that the new esports stadium could help to cater to the demand.
Philadelphia Fusion have already cemented their reputation as one of the world’s top Overwatch teams. With well over 100,000 Twitter followers and star players like Gael Gouzerch helping to raise the profile of the esport, it seems as though the planning of the new stadium couldn’t be better timed.
Whilst the home of Overwatch has traditionally been in Los Angeles over on the West coast, by creating a dedicated gaming hub on the East coast, Comcast Spectator will be hoping to boost the overall entertainment infrastructure of Philadelphia.
As well as the expected 120 gaming events per year at the new stadium, people in Philadelphia can also look forward to a range of other events from pop concerts to dance music extravaganzas. In order to boost funds for this $50 million project, Comcast Spectator have stated that they will be hoping to sell naming rights for the esports arena.
So what will the new esports stadium look like? The arena will be built by the Populous architecture firm who found success in designing the Yankees stadium, as well as the main arena for the London Olympics in 2012. In addition to this, Populous have also gained experience in gaming event building through their development of an esports arena in Arlington, Texas.
Above all, it’s hoped that the new stadium will optimise the viewer experience for action-packed esports like Overwatch. Whilst Philadelphia Fusion have historically been playing at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, the new arena in their home city should hopefully give them all they need to become one of the best teams in the Overwatch League.