So I’m getting ready for this big trip (WGG is heading to Dreamhack Montreal as press this weekend if you haven’t heard already), and I’m just about to jump in the shower when my phone goes off. Oh, an email from Blizzard? Specifically for the press? Well that’s me, I guess – and wouldn’t you know it – the big ballers over at Blizzard just officially announced a world-class esports arena in the entertainment capital of the world… Blizzard Arena.
Blizzard is pushing this concept as a “cutting-edge live-event destination for pro players, esports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition”, and is planting their flag in the legendary Burbank Studios, which was once home to groundbreaking television shows, but is now custom-tailored to support what Blizzard is calling “an exciting live-event experience for local attendees and broadcast audiences around the world”. The arena features multiple sound stages, control rooms, and practice facilities. Blizzard Arena isn’t just for your once-in-a-while eSports shindigs, Blizzard Arena will support events year-round. The arena, nestled in sunny Burbank, California, will also house a Blizzard retail store that will feature new merch all year-round depending on the events taking place at the time.
Blizzard Arena Los Angeles opens on October 7th in conjunction with the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs. Then, on October 13th, the HCT Summer Championship will attract pros from around the world all fighting for the $250,000 prize that’s on the line. Heroes of the Storm and WoW will also see some action at Blizzard Arena LA before the year is through, with the HotS Global Championship Finals and the WoW Arena Championship both taking place at Blizzard Arena in late October. You can already snag tickets for the Overwatch Contenders Playoffs and the HCT Summer Championship at those links.
So what do we think of all this? Well, we already called this on the podcast that Blizzard was going to continue making their own candy and section off the eSports world by highlighting their own games… And it looks like that just came true. Now that Blizzard has their own eSports arena, the possibilities are legitimately endless. I can’t wait to see how this affects the eSports community as a whole, and if more cities (especially the ones that have teams in the Overwatch League) will open up arenas of their own.