Comcast plans $50mn Esports Arena in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Fusion Esports Arena Image: Comcast Spectacor / The Cordish Companies / Populous

Comcast Corp. recently unveiled plans for a new $50 million arena in downtown Philadelphia designed specifically for competitive video game playing.

The 3,500-seat venue, dubbed the Fusion Arena, will have more than 2,000 square feet of LED screens, training facilities and private rooms so players can stream video to their fans. The project, a joint venture with Baltimore’s Cordish Companies, will be located near the same venues where the city’s other professional sports teams play, Bloomberg reported.

“Beyond competitive gaming, it’s a stunning facility that will host a wide array of events,” Dave Scott, chief executive of Comcast Spectacor, the company’s stadium management business, said in a statement.

The Fusion Arena will also have access to a player training facility, broadcast studio, and team offices being built inside the arena. Architectural firm Populous led design for the arena. Construction is expected to begin this summer. The arena is scheduled to open in January of 2021.

Ten sky boxes will have screens where guests can choose their own views of the action. Club seats will include USB ports for high-speed Internet access, according to Brian Mirakian, lead architect for the project at Populous, a design firm in Kansas City, Missouri, creating an environment for Esports fans “that’s never existed before.”

Telecommunications equipment provider ARRIS signed a sponsorship deal with the Philadelphia Fusion this past January, meaning the company might be a leading candidate to supply the broadband technology and infrastructure that will be needed at Fusion Arena.

Comcast, the largest cable TV provider in the world, has been making a big move into Esports in the past two years. The company was one of a dozen operators paying a $20 million franchise fee in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, which plays the Activision Blizzard Inc. shooting title.

Earlier in February, the company partnered with Korea’s SK Telecom Co. Ltd. to launch a business fielding teams playing Riot Games Inc.’s League of Legends, Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite and other titles.

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