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Populous designing largest US eports stadium in Arlington

By Kim Megson    03 Apr 2018
The City and investment firm Esports Ventures will invest US$10m (€8m, £7m) into the project to create 'the most immersive spectator experience in the live esports event market' / Populous
This esports stadium will transform the Arlington Convention Center and position the city as the epicentre for esports in the heart of North America
– Brian Mirakian, Populous senior principal

Populous are working on the largest esports arena in the US – a flexible 100,000sq ft (9,300sq m) venue in the City of Arlington, Virginia.

The global sport and entertainment architecture firm are converting the Arlington Convention Center into the Esports Stadium Arlington – a facility designed to draw competitive players and fans from around the world.

The City and investment firm Esports Ventures will together invest US$10m (€8m, £7m) into the project to create “the most immersive spectator experience in the live esports event market.”

The configurable interiors will allow the venue to cater to a wide variety of audiences and event types. There will be a major competition event area; gaming, retail and social spaces; VIP hospitality zones; a broadcast studio; and team training areas.

By transforming the previously underutilised spaces within the Convention Center, Populous said they aim to showcase the adaptive reuse potential of esports – a comparatively inexpensive and more efficient approach than new construction.

Brian Mirakian, senior principal at the firm, said: “This stadium will position the city as the epicentre for esports in the heart of North America. Fans will encounter a live experience unlike any other, by way of space for up to 1,000 spectators, VIP amenities and year-round event potential.”

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams added: “I know the gaming community across the globe is going to fall in love with this stadium and with Arlington. We’re ready for the biggest tournaments in the esports industry to call Arlington home.”

In 2017, the global esports market was valued at nearly US$493m (€400m, £351m). By 2020, esports is estimated to be a US$1.5bn (€1.2bn, £1bn) industry.

In September last year, games developer and broadcasting giant Blizzard Entertainment opened a major esports arena within LA’s Burbank Studios – once home to TV shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Mirakian has previously told CLADglobal that the arrival of esports arenas ”is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.”

“We’ve seen fan behaviour in our venues dramatically change over the last 10 to 20 years,” he said. “As technology and social media take off, so do the way fans interact with live sport. With esports, online viewership is exceeding rapidly with tens of thousands of people following. You can see we’re building to a point where physical venues will be needed to house these competitions.

“We firmly believe every great sport has a cathedral, and esports arenas are no different. Congregating together to share experiences and memories is in our DNA, and esports fans are every bit as passionate as fans of traditional sports.”

The global sport and entertainment architecture firm are converting the Arlington Convention Center into the Esports Stadium Arlington / Populous
Populous  esports  Arlington  Brian Mirakian  Jeff Williams  
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