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Populous reveals plans for major e-sports arena in Saudi Arabia

by Rebecca Skeel | 08 Feb 2024
Global architecture studio Populous has revealed plans for a cutting-edge esports arena in Qiddiya City, Saudi Arabia
The 5,155-seat venue will be a central landmark in the city’s mixed-use gaming and e-sports district
With a completion date of 2030, Qiddiya is forecast to attract up to 10 million visitors a year from across the globe
With no defined budget Qiddiya City has the safety net of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, estimated at around US$700 billion in assets

Populous have unveiled their plans for a state-of-the-art e-sports arena, designed to stand as a central landmark in Qiddaya City’s gaming and e-sports district, Saudi Arabia.

The 5,155-seat venue will be designed to accommodate multiple experiences that prioritise players and spectators, as well as hosting both national and international esports events.

The stadium will include the largest combined total video screen area of any esports arena in the world, with 4D haptic seats and state-of-the-art AV systems that allow visitors to sense, feel, and smell the action happening in the game in front of them.

Populous have utilised extensive sightline studies and parametric design tools to ensure optimal screen and seating configuration resulting in the creation of the innovative ‘digital chandelier’ - a suspended array of screens in the main seating bowl.

With a design ethos centred on creating a fantasy world for domestic and international fans, the stadium will include a carefully crafted general admission area with additional gaming, retail, and hospitality spaces.

Plans are for many of these spaces to be accessible both before an event and fully on non-event days, extending the operation of the venue and driving its integration into the community.

"We're proud to have been able to combine our knowledge of esports facilities and technology with Qiddiya’s vision to create a world-leading arena for competitors and fans alike," said Rhys Courtney, senior principal at Populous EMEA. "This arena will be unique in esports in both scale and user experience."

Qiddiya City will be completed by 2030 with a projected capacity for 600,000 residents spread over an area of 360 square km.

It will house FIFA-ready football stadiums, a race track, its own Six Flags theme park and an e-sports district.

Qiddiya City has been described as “a super city purely focused on sports, leisure and entertainment” and is part of the nation's ambition to diversify its economy away from oil exports by the end of the decade.

Populus is the architecture studio responsible for The London Olympic Stadium and some of the most advanced esports facilities in the world, including Esports Stadium Arlington and the NBA 2K League Broadcast Arena.

Populous  e-sports  Saudi Arabia 
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Company profile: Robert D. Henry Architects + Interiors
Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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