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Volume 26 No. 178
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Comcast Spectacor, Cordish Cos. Break Ground On Esports Venue

Fusion Arena will host concerts and family shows in addition to its primary role as an esports facility
Photo: POPULOUS
Fusion Arena will host concerts and family shows in addition to its primary role as an esports facility
Photo: POPULOUS
Fusion Arena will host concerts and family shows in addition to its primary role as an esports facility
Photo: POPULOUS

Comcast Spectacor and the Cordish Cos. "officially broke ground" on the $50M, 3,500-seat Fusion Arena, a project the organizations "expect will serve as a 'global destination' for esports events," according to John George of the PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL. Comcast Spectacor Chair & CEO Dave Scott said that there are ongoing "discussions with multiple businesses about acquiring the naming rights for the 65,000-square-foot venue." He added that the plan is for the arena to "serve as more than just the home of the Comcast Spectacor-owned Philadelphia Fusion of the Overwatch League." Scott: "We are going to have concerts and family shows and not just amateur esports events. We already have something like 100 dates set." Among the arena's features is "a 6,000-square-foot public area with 2,000 square feet of interactive media surfaces hovering 30 feet above the ground surface level." Another 10,000 square feet will be "used as the Xfinity Training Center, a broadcast studio and team offices." The venue also will have "two balcony bars, club suites with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and private suites." Populous was "hired to design the arena" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/25).

LEARN AS YOU GO: The types of venues used for esports in the U.S. are as varied as the games that are played in them. But as industry insiders pointed out at the '19 AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises conference, there are some guideposts for the nascent industry. “It’s a discovery period,” said BSE Global Exec VP/Programming & Development Keith Sheldon, whose organization owns Barclays Center. “We’re figuring out what games and formats work best." HOK Senior Project Designer Rashed Singaby said, “This is a new building type, so we have permission to think outside of the box to reexamine what’s happening in conventional sports to see if it works in esports. ... How can we size it properly to get a return on investment to monetize every day?” Allied Esports CEO Jud Hannigan, whose group is affiliated with almost a dozen esports venues worldwide, said, “We’re constantly turning over our buildings to make sure there can be a branded experience -- no matter whether we’re doing it or someone’s coming in from outside" (Robert Gray, THE DAILY).