Reflecting the rise of competitive video gaming.

By Jonathan Vanian
September 8, 2017

Activision Blizzard plans to make Los Angeles a big hub for video game tournaments.

The gaming company that’s now a member of the Fortune 500 list said this week that it intends to open an e-sports arena in Burbank, Calif. that will host competitive gaming tournaments featuring the company’s popular games.

The 50,000 square foot arena will accommodate 450 people and house multiple stages, broadcast stations, practice facilities, and a retail store. Activision Blizzard didn’t disclose the cost. The facility, Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, will open Oct. 7-8 with a tournament dedicated to company’s popular game Overwatch first-person shooter game.

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Activision Blizzard, which is trying to build on Overwatch’s popularity, plans to debut later this year an e-sports league dedicated to the game with teams based in cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will be the “home” for the Overwatch e-sports league’s inaugural season, the company said.

Activision Blizzard also intends to host a tournament after its new arena’s opening weekend that will be dedicated to the company’s popular digital card and collection game Hearthstone. Although Activision Blizzard now will soon have a dedicated e-sports arena, it still intends to host some e-sport tournaments at the company’s annual BlizzCon conference in Anaheim, Calif., notes gaming publication Polygon.

The new e-sports arena will be the latest gaming facility to be built in the U.S., reflecting the increasing popularity of video game tournaments.

The company Esports Arena operates several gaming facilities in cities like Las Vegas and Santa Ana, Calif. Events company Millennial esports has also built a 15,00 square foot arena in Las Vegas that can accommodate 500 people. Activision Blizzard competitor Riot Games, maker of the popular battle game League of Legends, also has a few e-sports arenas, including one in Berlin.

As industry trade publication The Esports Observer notes, Activision Blizzard’s e-sports strategy is unique in that it intends for the Los Angeles arena to host its premiere video game tournaments, instead of Riot Games, which holds its premier tournaments at third-party arenas worldwide.

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