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The Esports Venue Ecosystem

Traditional sports is full of iconic and stable locations. If you want to watch an LA Lakers home game, you’ll find yourself at the Staples Center.

Getting ready for a Boston Bruins match? You better be near TD Garden. While the New York Islanders didn’t make the playoffs this year, you can at least watch Tavares in-person at the Barclays Center next year.

With esports, however, this is not the case- this is a result of a few forces at work:

1) Esports is a digital sport. Taking place on screens, rather than on fields or courts, esports has evolved with the best interest of an online viewer in mind. Innovations in esports spectating, such as improved overlays and visual storytelling, were driven by broadcasting.

2) Esports is having growing pains. The largest esports event in Orlando, the “Community Effort Orlando,” has outgrown their usual venue the Wyndham Resort and will be relocating their main event to Tampa next year.

3) Esports is distributed across the world. Tournaments are a traveling circus; between June and July 2017 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team Virtus Pro will game in Atlanta, Moscow, Cologne, and Krakow.

3b) Except for when it’s not. Developers of titles like League of Legends and SMITE have dedicated venues for their weekly matches and teams will set-up training facilities and gaming houses around these studios.

Does esports need dedicated venues? With the concept of team franchising, similar to what is seen in traditional sports, entering esports there is definitely a need for stable locations. Thankfully a number of large stadiums are preparing themselves for the esports hype. AEG (Staples Center) have announced a partnership with esports team Immortals. Barclays Center is creating events alongside ESL. Delaware North (TD Garden) signed on with Splyce. Further examples include Events DC joining forces with NRG, Levi’s Center, Key Arena, and the Golden 1 Center are explicitly wiring their venues for esports, while Populous (T-Mobile Arena) is creating ambitious esports arena concepts. These partnerships and improvements foreshadow an esports landscape that benefits from regionalism, a topic we will be exploring further in the XLIVE Blog.

While static venues can help build local scenes and create a stable environment for teams, esports wouldn’t be esports without the hype of your favorite team playing at a location near you.

In addition, esports wouldn’t be esports without hype. New, unique, and crazy venues will always be at the forefront. Whether we have teams playing on an actual battleship, Vegas skyscrapers, universities, theaters, cruise ships, or your local Buffalo Wild Wings, we’re sure the viewers will be tuning in.

Many of the esports venues listed in this newsletter come from our XLIVE speaker lineup: about them how they pull off events at their exciting locations! Developers of game titles like League of Legends and SMITE have dedicated venues for their weekly matches- teams will set-up shop around the developer’s studio

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