Esports is all about community, and investors should be looking to venues

There is an underlying irony in the esports industry. While gamers are one of the most tech-savvy groups of people who thrive on creating online communities and spaces; they simultaneously have an insatiable demand for live experiences when it comes to both playing and watching esports.

When it comes to professional sports, the venue is an integral part of the fan experience. What would tennis be without Arthur Ashe Stadium or Wimbledon? Golf without Pebble Beach or Augusta?

While the esports industry doesn’t have a century of history to proliferate their venues, a new breed of gaming stadiums are popping up and the industry is taking note.

Here’s a look at some of the top esports venues in North America and how investors can play the space.

Image credit: Comcast Spectacor

Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Major players in Esports venues.

  • Comcast Corporation. (NASDAQ: CMCSA): With a price tag of over $50 million, Comcast is looking to build a world-class esports stadium in South Philly. The 3,500 seat facility, to be named Fusion Arena, will be the home of the eponymous Philadelphia Fusion team in the Overwatch League. It’s scheduled to open in early 2021
  • Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI): Located in Burbank, California the Blizzard Arena is a 450 seat arena designed for watching esports. It served as the home for all of the Overwatch teams in 2019 and will continue to serve a venue for other AB titles including Starcraft, Hearthstone and the Overwatch World Cup.
  • Allied Esports Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: AESE): The company is a pure-play on esports venues and facilities. Their flagship location is the Las Vegas based HyperX Esports Arena. With over 30,000 sq ft, broadcast center and studio it can host events in almost every game and serve as a prime destination for some of the industry’s top streamers. 

Much like other segments in the esports industry, it’s hard to get direct access to some of the best assets as many venues are privately held. North America’s largest venue is the Esports Stadium Arlington. A joint venture between Infinite Esports and the city of Arlington, this 100,000 square foot behemoth exemplifies the motto, everything is bigger in Texas.

As the existing esports franchises in League of Legends or Overwatch start to mature, you can be sure that the venue infrastructure won’t be far behind. With Call of Duty now moving to a franchise model, it may start to make sense for companies to start building more dedicated gaming arenas.

Disclaimer: Neither myself nor any related family member has any position in the above stated companies.