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Philadelphia set for $50m esports arena

A new 3,500-seat esports arena is to be built in Philadelphia, it has been announced.

Global architecture firm Populous, in association with real estate developer The Cordish Companies and sports and entertainment specialist Comcast Spectacor, today (Monday) detailed plans for the $50m (£37.9m/€44.2m) Fusion Arena project.

The arena will serve as the home of the Philadelphia Fusion esports team and according to Populous it will become the largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue in the western hemisphere.

As well as hosting esports events and training, the arena will have the capacity to stage other events throughout the year.

Populous senior principal Brian Mirakian said: “Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market. We’re taking our 36 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports – settings like Yankee Stadium – and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”

The exterior of the arena will feature a dynamic skin, inspired by the hardware that is contributing to esports’ continued global growth. Upon entry, fans will be greeted by a 6,000-square-foot space, with 2,000 square feet dedicated to interactive media surface hovering 30 feet above them.

Guests will be able to sample balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices.

Blake Cordish, principal of The Cordish Companies, said: “Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment amid Philadelphia’s Sports Complex.

“Today’s announcement marks an exciting moment for the Comcast Spectacor-Cordish partnership as the next phase of Xfinity Live! continues to unfold.”

Construction work on the arena is scheduled to begin this summer. Populous has experience of delivering esports projects in the past, having debuted Esports Stadium Arlington in the Texan city in November.

Philadelphia Fusion competes in the Overwatch League, which recently announced plans to switch to a home-and-away format for its third season.

The arena will form part of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which already features three major-league venues in the shape of Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park.

Image: Populous