LA's Burbank TV studios transformed into Blizzard Arena for eSports

We’re at a tipping point for eSports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment
– Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment

Games developer and broadcasting giant Blizzard Entertainment has transformed a legendary Los Angeles television studio into a major eSports arena.

The popularity of eSports competitions – in which opposing players compete at video games played online, often with thousands of digital spectators following the action – has grown at a huge rate in the last decade.

The Blizzard Arena has been conceived to take advantage of this growing popularity. Located in LA’s Burbank Studios – once home to TV shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Tonight Show and Days of Our Lives – Blizzard’s design team have custom-tailored the space “to support an exciting live-event experience for local attendees and broadcast audiences around the world.”

With multiple sound stages, control rooms, practice facilities and a large retail store, the arena has been created to support a full slate of competitive events year-round, starting from early October with tournaments for the games Overwatch and Hearthstone.

“We’re at a tipping point for eSports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment.

“As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honoured to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.”

Designers and developers have been anticipating the rising demand for eSports arenas for some time. Existing stadiums such as London’s Wembley Stadium are already capable of hosting eSports events, while new stadiums being built for other sports – such as the redevelopment of White Hart Lane for football club Tottenham Hotspur – are being designed with a view to tapping into the market.

Sports architects Populous are among the firms developing physical, purpose-built arenas in which the digital battles of the future can be hosted, and Brian Mirakian, director of Populous’ Activate design agency, recently told CLAD that the arrival of eSports arenas ”is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.”

“We’ve seen fan behaviour in our venues dramatically change over the last 10 to 20 years,” he said. “As technology and social media take off, so do the way fans interact with live sport. With eSports, online viewership is exceeding rapidly with tens of thousands of people following. You can see we’re building to a point where physical venues will be needed to house these competitions.”

Burbank Studios  Blizzard Arena  Blizzard Entertainment  eSports  architecture  design 
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Games developer and broadcasting giant Blizzard Entertainment has transformed a legendary Los Angeles television studio into a major eSports arena. The popularity of eSports competitions – in which opposing players compete at video games played online, often with thousands of digital spectators following the action – has grown at a huge rate in the last decade. The Blizzard Arena has been conceived to take advantage of this growing popularity. Located
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Architects are conceiving new venues to host increasinly popular eSports events / Blizzard Entertainment
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