By Robert Workman
With the growth of the eSports community and the gaming leagues surrounding it, it was only a matter of time before eSports managed to get its own gaming space in the US. This week, Major League Gaming confirmed said space, and the city of Columbus, Ohio may never be the same.
The league announced that it will open the MLG.tv Arena in Columbus, a 14,000 square foot venue with bleacher seating that will house quite a few fans for forthcoming eSports events. The arena is set to open this October, when the league will host the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” Pro League playoffs, where teams from around the world will take on one another for $75,000 in prize money.
This is just the latest move in the growth of competitive gaming. Valve held a tournament in Seattle called The International, which drew in “Dota 2” players from around the world, along with an $11 million prize pool. The event drew an online audience of over 20 million, along with those in attendance. This, on top of “League of Legends”’ continued success (32 million viewers and rising from its last tournament) shows that eSports has come a long way in just a short amount of time.
“MLG’s mission is to promote e-sports globally through premier competition,” MLG chief executive officer Sundance DiGiovanni said in a statement, per VentureBeat. “[And it is] to deliver premium gaming content to viewers anytime, anywhere through our global streaming platform, MLG.TV. With the MLG Columbus Arena, we now have a flagship venue built to showcase the best as we continue to expand our global footprint.”
The only question now is why Columbus was chosen for the arena, instead of a larger city. It comes down to MLG’s history in the city, according to MLG Properties executive vice president Adam Apicella. “Columbus has hosted some of our most successful events to date,” he said. “With 62 colleges in the Columbus region, hundreds of thousands of university and high school students in the 11-county area, and close proximity to our audience on the East Coast, Columbus is a great location for our MLG arena.” Of course, buying an arena in Columbus is certainly going to be much cheaper than an arena in California or New York.
Best wishes to the league on its new home. Here’s hoping they have plenty of energy drinks for the forthcoming tournaments.
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