Many of Blizzard‘s games have a huge eSports following. Hearthstone tournaments continue to be a big deal, its IP-spanning MOBA Heroes of the Storm is a big hit and Overwatch is also steadily growing its eSports presence too. But now, Blizzard is ramping things up a notch.
This week, Blizzard announced plans to launch its very own eSports arena. Called the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, the venue is based at the Burbank Studios TV facility, with Blizzard itself being based out of Burbank, California. Blizzard says that the arena will be a “cutting-edge live-event destination for pro players, eSports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition,” explaining that it has been “custom-tailored” for eSports.
Officially opening for business on October 7, Blizzard also says that the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will support eSports competition all year round. It also features multiple sound stages, practice facilities, control rooms, and a Blizzard retail store allowing attendees to pick up some merchandise based on the games that they will be watching.
The first event up is the Overwatch Contenders, with the season one playoffs taking place between October 7-8. Then it’s the Hearthstone Championship Tour’s Summer Championship, which offers a $250,000 prize fund and will take place beginning October 13. The Heroes of the Storm Global Championship and the World of Warcraft Arena Championship will also kick off in late October.
Later this year, the Overwatch League will take place at the arena as well, as Blizzard hopes that professional Overwatch players and their regional teams will usher in “a new era in professional esports.” Tickets to the events will be priced at $15 for one-day entry, two-day passes will cost $25, and access to three-day events will be priced at $40.
The Blizzard Arena Los Angeles represents a major step in Blizzard’s rapidly growing eSports plans. The Overwatch League could potentially make $720 million in annual earnings for the company, and Blizzard wants to emulate the likes of the NBA and the NFL with its regional teams too.
Moreover, as Blizzard has multiple new IPs in the works – which could potentially have huge eSports followings too – it makes sense for the company to make such an investment. Blizzard has a lot to gain, and having an arena with its name slapped on the side of it could provide it with a solid foundation to continue building its eSports empire.
Blizzard Arena Los Angeles’ first event is the Overwatch Contenders, with season one playoffs taking place on October 7 and October 8, 2017.