Arlington to level up with possible esports stadium

A rendering of the Esports Stadium Arlington's exterior. 

Competitive gamers from around the globe could have a new venue to host their tournaments.

The City of Arlington recently announced a proposal to renovate the Arlington Convention Center, across from Globe Life Park, and turn it into the largest esports stadium in the U.S. this fall. In collaboration with Esports Venues, LLC, the city would invest $10 million to create Esports Stadium Arlington, according to a March 14 City of Arlington press release.

Approximately 100,000 square feet of the Convention Center, including the Grand Hall and its outside gallery, would be renovated to become the stadium if the project is approved, said Susan Schrock, City of Arlington communication coordinator, in an email.

The stadium would include competition event space, gaming, retail and social space, a broadcast studio, and team training areas, among other amenities.

Esports are a form of competitive online video gaming. The growing industry had an estimated $655 million worldwide market value in 2017 and is projected to increase to about $1.6 billion according to data from statista.com.

Discussions for the stadium began around October, said Christian Gross, UTA eSports club president and UTA Enterprise Development Division eSports subject matter expert. He said the city reached out to the club because they wanted their input on what an esports space in Arlington would require to see consistent use.

The UTA eSports club is excited to see infrastructure being built in the area for competitive gaming. Gross said discussions for similar venues were held in the past.

“There have been some things of this caliber that just never saw the light of day which is really disappointing,” Gross said.

He said the club feels its the first time they have been recognized with something other than words.

“The stadium isn’t just for us but, you know, knowing that we’ve been consulted on so much throughout the process, it’s really exciting to see it come to fruition,” he said.

The city consulted Gross because of his extensive knowledge in esports, he said. He attended about seven meetings and his role was to explain the importance of the industry. His involvement with the city and other gaming companies during this project has legitimized esports as a career option for him.

“We are proud of our students and pleased that they will be able to share in the events and competitions that will take place in this world-class facility just 10 minutes from campus,” President Vistasp Karbhari said in the press release. “I’m grateful for the wonderful collaboration that exists between UT Arlington, the city and our community and look forward to another wonderful partnership that will keep Arlington and the Metroplex at the forefront of this new exciting enterprise.”

Currently, Gross serves as UTA’s first Enterprise Development Division eSports subject matter expert. His job responsibilities include event management and planning. He began the role in January and said he could not provide more details as to what type of events are coming because they are in introductory stages.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot about what it means to be pursuing a career in professional esports and it’s something that I’m really interested in pursuing,” he said.

The Shorthorn reached out to Ron Price, Arlington Convention Center and Visitors Bureau president, but he did not respond by publication time.

@mara_lopez01

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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