Blizzard announced the creation of a brand new esports arena in Los Angeles that is designed to host and broadcast high-level pro gaming events. Located within the Burbank Studios (which used to stage The Tonight Show), the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles is designed to support events year-round, with front-facing play areas with spectator seating, as well as back-end support rooms and practice areas.
Although professional gaming has come on leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, more often than not, the biggest events are held in stadiums and arenas designed with more general-purpose entertainment in mind. While the new Blizzard Arena isn’t going to rival some of them in terms of spectator seating, it may end up pioneering the kind of setting and experience for professional gaming in the future.
“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement. “As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.”
Set to officially open on October 7, the arena will host the Overwatch Contenders Season One playoffs, hosting some of the best European and North American teams in the world. That will be followed shortly after by the Hearthstone Championship Tour’s Supper Championship on October 13, with Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft events slated for later on that month.
With quite a collection of popular multiplayer games in its roster, Blizzard is one of the best-positioned companies to build up a general purpose esports location. Although it may lack the player numbers of Riot with League of Legends or the prize pools of the DotA 2 World Championships, Blizzard is looking to define what a professional gaming arena looks and operates like.
The arena itself features multiple sound stages, several control rooms and practice facilities for competing teams and individuals. It will also host a Blizzard retail store with rotating stock so that whichever teams are playing, will have their merchandise and game-relevant items available for purchase.
If you want to be one of the first to experience what it’s like to attend an esports event, you can pre-order tickets for the Overwatch Contenders Playoffs now.