eSports arena’s are a common feature in many major European countries. While some last for only a weekend or two, some open their doors all year round to promote the steady growth of competitive eSports. North America has announced the opening of their very first eSports Arena in Santa Ana, California and to start off with a bang they are hosting an inaugural CS:GO tournament with a grand prize pool total of $25,000. The doors will open on September 19th-20th.
The Seattle Key Arena where the recent Dota 2 International was held.
The eSports Arena
Like many sports arenas, the eSports Arena will play host to a state of the art production facility as eSports continues to close the gap on conventional sports broadcasts. The Arena will be able to host both small and large-scale events, with the aim of included all major eSports titles. Their aim is to host daily competitions, offline eSports leagues, produces digital content, and rent the space to major North American leagues, eg. Major League Gaming and ESEA LANs.
“We wanted to contribute something new to the eSports industry, we’ve done that with eSports Arena. Now the eSports viewer, competitor, organizer, and game developer have opportunities that they’ve never had before.” -Tyler Endres, COO of eSports Arena.
It hasn’t been announced which major teams will be playing in the inaugural tournament, but we can expect a big splash when it comes to final announcement. North America has begun to make its mark on the competitive CS:GO scene with teams such as Cloud9 achieving top 3 finishes in almost four consecutive LANs. Perhaps the introduction of an arena which promotes more consistent competition could further bridge the gap between North America and the ever-dominant European scene.
Could we sustain an Arena?
This has been something discussed in length between fellow tournament hosts and myself. Could South Africa ever host an event of this size, and subsequently have a permanent fixture where more of these events are hosted throughout the year. The eSports Arena in North America can host 1000 gamers, where our local LANs fill those numbers with absolutely no problem. The rAge expo each year welcomes over 2000 gamers for their annual LAN, as well as various competitive tournaments. The Do Gaming Championships, which run alongside the rAge expo, also accommodate hundreds of gamers for all different eSports titles. The simple answer is yes, we can have such a feature in South Africa. The only problem is funding, location and consistent attendance.
The Coca-Cola dome where the annual rAge expo is held
Say for example the Arena hosted four major competitions each year for various titles (let’s start with Dota 2, CS:GO and League of Legends). Dota 2 has over 200 teams, CS:GO has over 100 and so does League of Legends. Once again the problem comes down to funding, so if you have a rich uncle who wants to help grow eSports, you know which direction to point him in. Whether it would be sustainable is the real question, with online gaming LAN tournaments having become a rare commodity reserved for only the top teams in a country. But what if we could accommodate the less professional teams and expose them to the LAN environment? I personally feel that’s the correct approach to growing eSports in South Africa.
Last Updated: August 14, 2015