A new $65m (£53m/€61m) esports arena is to be built in Washington D.C. as part of the US capital’s bid to position itself as the home of competitive gaming.
The 4,200-capacity arena will open in late 2018 or early 2019, and will also host Women’s National Basketball Association team the Washington Mystics. Music concerts and boxing matches will also be staged at the venue.
The city has also partnered with the NRG Esports team as it seeks to tap into what is becoming an increasingly lucrative market.
Max Brown, chairman of Events D.C., the District of Columbia’s official convention and sports authority, revealed details of the NRG partnership, which is said to be the first of its kind between a city and a team, in an interview with the Mashable website.
“We have a bunch of universities here in Washington,” Brown said. “There are lots of younger kids who are here and are coming here every year through our universities so we think it makes a lot of sense for us as a city to plant a flag (for esports), and ultimately be the capital of esports like we’re the capital of the United States.”
NRG Esports co-founder Andy Miller added: “These events sell out in two seconds, you need to travel, you need to spend good money and they’re big and they’re fun and they’re super cool but it’s not like, ‘I want to go watch my team play this weekend, head down and check them out at the local arena.’ That just doesn’t happen in esports, and that’s something that’s missing when you want to have a real connection with an organisation and with players.”