As we have previously discussed, the eSports industry has garnered immense popularity and is projected to grow considerably. While this projected growth may present new targets for acquisitions, partnerships, sponsorships and the like, it may also create new real estate opportunities – specifically, in the form of eSports stadiums and arenas. Although likened to traditional sports stadiums and arenas, the infrastructure, facilities and amenities of their eSports counterparts will be quite different. Most notably, these venues will be constructed with an emphasis on the “fan experience” and technology. The eSports stadiums and arenas already in operation throughout the United States appear to reflect this focus.
Additionally, these eSports venues have the potential to be transformative. By equipping players with the technologies required to play and compete, and by providing fans with a physical space to gather, socialize and cheer on their favourite teams and players, video games will no longer only be considered “at-home” experiences but rather, live social events. In fact, as the title of an article recently published by Cushman & Wakefield on the topic suggests, eSports may be “a game changer in real estate”.
According to the same Cushman & Wakefield article, the types of real property where we may expect to see the opening of eSports stadiums and arenas include locations with higher vacancies such as certain malls, older offices located in suburbs proximate to major cities, theme parks and even hotels. Consistent with the foregoing, many of the eSports stadiums and arenas already in existence appear to have been constructed on pre-existing properties previously operated for other purposes such as convention halls, nightclubs, movie theaters and the list goes on. Nevertheless, if the eSports industry continues to grow as anticipated, we will likely see the construction of custom-built venues that are specifically intended to be used for eSports stadiums and arenas. Indeed, later this year, Canada is poised to see the opening of The Gaming Stadium in Richmond, British Columbia, its first ever custom-built eSports stadium. In a press release announcing the stadium, the company behind The Gaming Stadium expressed its goal of providing “a community-driven location that is open for players of all ages and skill levels to watch and participate year-round.”
By stimulating demand for the development of new types of properties – that is, eSports stadiums and arenas, the projected growth of the eSports industry could be a slam dunk for real estate.
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