Wells Fargo Center claims US first with new esports space

Wells Fargo Center has claimed a first for a major US sports arena with the opening of a new pro-level esports space.

Esports infrastructure company Nerd Street Gamers has partnered with Comcast Spectacor, which owns the arena, on the project.

As part of the agreement, Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers NHL team and 76ers NBA franchise, will be fitted with a Localhost – an esports facility that features high-powered computers used by professional gamers. Each Localhost is managed by Nerd Street Gamers and is fully staged with associates.

Localhost Wells Fargo Center will be fitted with professional-grade PC and console gaming stations and will be open before, during and after events at the arena. The space will feature a dedicated separate entrance and will host competitive gaming events in conjunction with event theme nights and special ticket packages.

The area will also host competitive gaming tournaments on non-event days. The space was opened up to fans attending the Overwatch League Grand Finals yesterday (Sunday) as a preview, and will open regularly from October 9, when the Flyers take on the New Jersey Devils.

Rob Johnson, chief operating officer of Nerd Street Gamers, said: “We’re connecting traditional sports and esports for fans because there’s a direct connection between their love for their favourite traditional sports franchises and their love for video games. At the Wells Fargo Center, fans will now have access to the excitement of their favourite teams coupled with the thrill of their favourite games.”

Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, added: “Through this new gaming space and partnership, we have created another unique destination for our guests within the Wells Fargo Center. We know that many of our fans were first exposed to hockey through video games, so this gaming space will provide a way for fans to show off their skills.”

The announcement comes after Fusion, the Philadelphia-based esports franchise, last week broke ground on its new $50m (£41m/€46m), 3,500-seat arena, which has been designed by Populous. Fusion Arena is set to become the largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue in the western hemisphere when it opens.

The installation of Wells Fargo Center’s new esports space comes after the arena earlier this month announced details of its New City Terrace space, which forms part of the facility’s multi-year $265m renovation plan.

The terrace will result in the complete overhaul of the top level of the arena and will feature a range of amenities and ticket options. Wells Fargo Center said the terrace will “redefine” traditional in-arena rituals.

Image: Wells Fargo Center