Blizzard today announced it’s opening an arena dedicated to live events in Burbank, California. The arena will officially open on October 7.
According to Blizzard, the arena is “custom-designed and built with amenities to accommodate top esports competitors and their fans” — which will include “multiple sound stages, control rooms and player lounges throughout the facility.” According to the LA Times, the venue in the former Burbank Studios,is 50,000 square feet. Blizzard hasn’t released any pictures yet.
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The fact that esports is such a moneymaker that a major company can build a massive venue in one of the most expensive cities in the world is, to me, a sign that it’s really carved its niche in the world, even if it’s still not truly mainstream. Blizzard’s announcement describes the arena as a “hot destination” for esports, which could mean it’ll also rent the space out to other company’s games, even if the first planned events are in-house.
I’m assuming events at the Burbank arena won’t take the place of regional events, such as the country v country match-ups in the Overwatch World Cup. If it does, it’ll mean a lot of competitors have to fly to Burbank — and either that’ll alienate talented players who can’t afford the commute, or Blizzard will have to pay for a LOT of flight and housing fees to get them here.
Update 9/11: According to a Blizzard spokesperson, “We are primarily focused on Blizzard activities. With our full slate of esports across multiple franchises, we’re anticipating a packed calendar. There may be opportunities to work with partners on certain events, but we built this facility primarily with Blizzard activities in mind.”