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Volume 24 No. 180


Luxor's former LAX nightclub in Las Vegas is "just over two months away from becoming the Strip’s first permanent esports venue," when it officially reopens as Esports Arena Las Vegas on March 22 with a "series of events, including an invitation-only, multiday, live-streamed tournament," according to Nicole Raz of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The arena is a "result of a partnership" between esports venue network Allied Esports, gaming community hub and production company Esports Arena and MGM Resorts Int'l. Upon completion, the space, which spans 30,000 square feet, will "hold a 50-foot light-emitting diode video wall, telescopic seating, a production studio and food and beverage offerings." MGM Resorts President of Las Vegas properties Steven Zanellla said that the goal is to "build a rapport with video gamers to see how MGM can best serve them." Allied Esports and Esports Arena also "introduced a traveling arena Wednesday night, called Esport Arena Drive." The 80-foot, 18-wheel, 35-ton semitrailer "unfolds and turns into a a mini esports arena, with a competition stage, full production facilities, a caster studio, social media center and a VIP lounge." The semitrailer will "make its first stop in Feb. 18, for a multiday tournament during the Daytona 500" at Daytona Int'l Speedway (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/12). In Las Vegas, Thomas Moore notes there is at least "one other location for esports on the Strip." In December, esports betting company Unikrn "announced it would begin organizing and hosting amateur esports tournaments at Level Up, an area at the MGM Grand geared toward millennials that features gambling and nongambling gaming machines." Unikrn execs said that they will "begin offering weekly tournaments at Level Up starting in February" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/12).

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The Wizards' new practice facility in DC's Congress Heights neighborhood is "on-schedule for a September opening" and expected to be "ready for next season’s training camp," according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis on Thursday during a "topping out" ceremony at the construction site said, “To the people who are working on building this building, the ability to be able to deliver this on-time and on-budget is very, very rare. For us to be able to move in for next season will be, I thought, a miracle." Steinberg notes the Wizards "plan to move their basketball operations department to the new facility, which doesn’t yet have a name." It will also "house a 4,200-seat arena," which will host the WNBA Mystics and G League Capital City Go-Go, as well as concerts, community events and the team’s entry to the NBA 2K League. DC will "own and operate the facility" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).

The NHRA this season will debut a new welcome center near the entrance of every venue. The idea is to help first-time attendees better navigate the venue they are attending. NHRA President Glen Cromwell said the effort took a “significant” investment by the series. The setup, which will travel to all 24 NHRA Mello Yello Series race weekends, will include info card and booklet handouts. There also will be two mounted TVs showing schedules of that weekend’s action, maps of the venue plus NHRA historical info, an on-site personality who will engage with fans, the ability to get a 30-minute tour of the venue and Mello Yello branding and signage. The ’18 season begins Feb. 8-11 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.