Esports are on the rise, with estimates suggesting it will surpass $1 billion in revenue by 2021. This growth has helped transform esports into a highly-regarded sport that can be watched on major networks. Furthermore, it provides developers with new sources of income while drawing crowds of thousands (or even tens of thousands) at events.
How many esports arenas exist?
North America currently has several dedicated arenas that have either been built or opened as purpose-built esports facilities. Some have been created from vacant malls or other retail sites, while others were constructed from scratch.
These venues typically cater to a range of games and competition formats, with rules differing from one title to another. Some are specifically tailored for titles like League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2. Other facilities cater to all kinds of players – from casual gamers to tournament-style esports enthusiasts – regardless of their gaming or competition style.
Esports arenas typically include a computer-based element, which is an excellent way to get many people connected and gaming simultaneously. This makes hosting parties and esports events very popular – whether for corporate team-building exercises or children’s birthday parties.
Esports arenas require the necessary infrastructure to cater to their audiences and organizers. This includes a robust technical foundation with high-density Wi-Fi coverage, multiple TV and computer monitors, as well as enough energy supply.
Furthermore, a facility must have enough room to house an extensive roster of players – each with their own equipment – as well as training and practice areas, team storage areas, locker rooms and team training areas. Furthermore, it should provide comfortable seating capacity along with dedicated concession and merchandise spaces all while remaining cool enough for thousands of fans attending esports events.
These requirements may differ between esports events and even between individual teams. For instance, a professional team may require its own separate training room for coaching staff members. Furthermore, Mirakian notes that the length of an event has an impact on how it should be run, including ticketing and event access requirements.
Esports arenas tend not to be particularly expensive to run, with many generating revenue through admission tickets and subscriptions. Some, like California’s Esports Arena, provide a monthly membership model starting at US$10 a month that includes access to tournaments.
Other esports venues generate revenue through sponsorship and advertising in addition to online streams. Other forms of monetisation include rent for the venue from organizers as well as fees for hosting tournaments.
Esports arenas tend to be situated in major urban centres, often surrounded by other entertainment uses like restaurants, hotels and multifamily housing. While these complementary uses may help boost revenue streams for esports projects, they do not guarantee financial viability for the entire venture.