The Philadelphia Fusion esports team and its parent company Comcast Spectacor have broken ground on a new $50m (£40.5m/€45.7m) arena, which is due to open in 2021.

Plans for the new 3,500-seat arena, which has been designed by Populous and backed by real estate developer The Cordish Companies, were first announced back in March.

Fusion Arena is set to become the largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue in the western hemisphere when it opens. As well as hosting Fusion events and training, the arena will have the capacity to stage other events throughout the year.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Comcast Spectacor chairman and chief executive Dave Scott, and team president Tucker Roberts were present for the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Fusion Arena changes the dynamic of sports as we know it,” Kenney said, according to ESPN. “As esports continues to grow around the world, Philadelphia will be a hub in North America. Philadelphia is a city that’s always looking to bring people together and Fusion Arena will do just that.”

The ceremony comes as Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team and Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise, prepares to host the Overwatch League Finals this weekend. The Fusion competes in the Overwatch League and is the first franchise in the competition to announce plans for its own arena.

Nearly 10,000 square feet of the site will be dedicated to a training facility. The arena will form part of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which already features Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park.

Image: Populous