A new sport is drawing fans into arenas but you won’t find turf or a hardwood court inside. Instead, you will spot dozens of computers, large screens and other high tech equipment for electronic gaming competition, or Esports. The venues are hugely popular overseas and in the United States, they can be found in California, Nevada and Texas. These Esports stadiums offer gamers a chance to watch and participate in competitions and play alongside their friends in their favorite games. You could think of it as an arcade on steroids.
Esports is big business with revenues expected to be more than 900 million dollars this year.
The term esports, or electronic sports, means organized gaming among players, usually team-based multiplayer games. Fans can watch these big competitions online or actually attend at these new arenas which are designed to host amateur and professional events. The facilities have flexspace with room configurations that can hold 250 to thousands depending on the size of the competition. Outside the arenas are rows of game consoles and computers that can be rented by the hour or for a daily rate.
That is a major draw for these stadiums besides the professional competitions, a chance for friends to socialize and play games. Interestingly, the gaming crowd is not your typical sports spectator, research shows they prefer energy drinks and healthier food options as opposed to hot dogs and beer. These arenas draw a younger crowd most being between the ages of 18 and 34.
You can bet these gaming fantasylands have state of the art technology with superb wifi networks where dozens can be competing at the same time. A lag in play is a big no no when it comes to battling it out in Fortnite or League of Legends. At least organizers don’t have to worry about weather conditions.
The big competitions can last for hours or many times for days unlike a football or basketball game with specified playing periods. These stadiums provide other activities to keep attendees happy. Many are developing virtual reality experiences to bring fans closer to the action.
Digital athletes sometimes have the reputation of being homebodies, holed up in their rooms or home offices while online gaming, but these new establishments provide a space to hang out and watch the pros play or compete with friends under the same roof. No doubt, more will be cropping up around the country.