Toronto is betting big on Canadian esports with a planned $500 million entertainment arena to attract and house numerous esports organizations and teams. The city would join esports hotspots such as Melbourne and Shanghai that have heavily invested in esports infrastructure.
One of the largest esports organizations in Canada, OverActive Media, announced plans to build a massive arena that would be able to accommodate 7,000 fans at once. Upon completion, the venue will serve as the home for OverActive's Call of Duty team (Toronto Ultra) and Overwatch team (Toronto Defiant). The unnamed, four-acre arena hopes to host more than 200 events per year, which includes non-esports related events such as concerts and conventions.
The futuristic vibe of the structure is thanks to the vision of Populous, an architecture company with past credits being the 2012 London Olympics and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Although the city of Toronto has yet to fully approve the development, the prospect of it alone has drawn international attention.
Traditional stadiums have been used for large esports events in the past, being temporarily retrofitted for the equipment needed such as PCs and large monitors. These new esports-centric arenas such as Fortress Melbourne in Australia are inherently "future-proofed" with advancements such as high-speed internet and large viewing screens to ensure the seamless experience for players and fans alike. It's clear that OverActive expects the esports scene in Canada to stay, so having these built in capabilities in the arena will save setup time and cost over the long-run.
You think $500 million is a lot? Earlier this year, Shanghai began construction of a $898 million esports facility with the same goal of being a global hub for esports events. It's in these large cities where the concentration of esports fans reside, and with the market expected to grow at a significant rate its clear that OverActive wants to dominate the Canadian scene while the iron's still hot.
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