Philadelphia Flyers owners Comcast Spectacors and the Cordish Companies on Monday announced a $50 million project to build the nation’s first ever video gaming arena.
As the popularity of esports continues to surge, the 3,500-seat Fusion Arena will be home for stadium-size live video game competitions as part of the 20-team Overwatch League, according to Philly.com.
The arena will offer 2,000 square feet of interactive media surface hovering 30 feet above the crowd. Construction is set to begin this summer as an addition to the 47-acre South Philadelphia stadium complex site near Xfinity Live!, the Linc, Citizens Bank Park, and the Wells Fargo Center which Comcast Spectacor currently leases. The arena will feature two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, loge boxes and exclusive suites, plus a training facility for players.
The arena is expected to open in 2021.
“We’re thrilled to introduce a venue like no other as we move forward with the next phase of development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott said in a statement. “Fusion Arena gives esports fans a best-in-class venue to call home and be proud of. Beyond competitive gaming, it’s a stunning facility that will host a wide array of events.”
The Overwatch League has 20 franchises in China, South Korea, Canada, France, England and the U.S., in which six gamers battling six others in a survival game. Overwatch owners Activision Blizzard told Philly.com that roughly 40 million people play worldwide, and that some 400,000 people log in in the Philadelphia TV market area.
“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 professional sports teams,” Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies, said in a press release. Comcast Spectacor expects to host about 120 events a year in the Fusion Arena, ranging from TED Talks, other gaming events, and pop concerts.
Comcast Spectacor is also planning $250 million to renovate the Wells Fargo Center and is looking for tenants for an $80 million 10-story office tower which is located on the same complex.