First esport arena to spring up at Rizhao in China


China AFL Rizhao Image: AFL

A major new sports and leisure campus will spring up in the city of Rizhao in eastern China. Site works are due to commence on the first stage of the project this Spring.

The arena will be equipped with futuristic facilities for the community and use by the pick of athletes. The campus will be located across three sites. The designs for three sites across the city are part of a larger master plan that encompasses a 12,000-capacity stadium, an esports arena, a multi-sport venue, and hotel/retail developments. This project is part of a major drive for elite and community sports facilities across the country, The e-sport arena will be the first in the region, boasting capacity of round about 3,000-4,000.

The entire ground plan has been shaped by the international architectural practice AFL Architects. It will also be AFL’s first e-sport arena.

The blueprint shows the 12,000-capacity stadium sitting in the center of the plaza, encircled by a multi-hall sports venue, a gymnasium, swimming pool, and other mixed-use buildings.

Early renderings of the project have been released and plans also include for academy accommodation, community spaces, and professional training facilities.

The master plan will be delivered in phases, starting with the stadium itself and following the outline vision for the project, ultimately becoming a fully-accessible campus for both crème de la creme athletes and the local community.

The training ground is positioned separately to the venue. It will be built for use by the local team and will also hold a football academy, team accommodation and three pitches. Along with the arena, it will serve as a platform for development of football at the grass root level.

AFL Architects will be working directly with a commercial JV client on the project and this will be AFL Architects third project with Kehua Sport and sixth in China. The design major has earlier designed the Kunming Campus, an avant-garde Premier League campus training the best of European teams when they tour the Communist nation.

Kehua Sport aims at exploring a sustainable development model for youth football development in China, mainly based on communities and working with Coerver Coaching for Youth Program for 1000 players in Shanghai.

Phil Osborne, Director, AFL Architects, stated, “We are proud to engage directly with the sporting ambition of the city of Rizhao; to be at the forefront of creating an environment in which players can train, compete, and advance from their local team to the national stage.”

“We are thrilled to further develop our relationship with Kehua Sport on this major new series of sports facilities. The e-sports arena in particular is an exciting and challenging commission. E-sport fans demand the same exceptional atmosphere as those following any sport, and this commission follows intensive research and development by our architects to design bespoke arenas for this growing market,” Osborne added.

E-sports are the fastest growing sport across major part of the globe. Its diverse range of games and inclusive nature creates a unique set of challenges. The game is also rapidly growing in China.

This continual expansion into China also comes at a critical point for AFL, following its delivery of the FIFA World Cup™ final stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, namely Lusail Stadium, and its expanding international market in the Middle East, Turkey and Ireland.

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