Sports fans are already used to heading to Arlington to see the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers, but now the city also has its eye on a new competitive crowd: esports fans.
The City of Arlington announced plans Wednesday morning for a 100,000 square-foot, "state of the art" arena dedicated to competitive video games. The new space will be called Esports Stadium Arlington, and the city says that it will be the largest esports stadium in the country.
Esports Stadium Arlington will be a $10 million transformation of the Arlington Convention Center. The stadium is a collaboration with the City of Arlington, Esports Venues and architecture firm Populous.
"Being on the forefront of new ideas and setting trends is in our DNA and part of who we are as The American Dream City," says Arlington mayor Jeff Williams in a statement. "Esports Stadium Arlington will further cement our city's status as a national and international tourist destination. Players and fans will come here for the tournaments and they'll stay even longer to experience everything Arlington has to offer."
Competitive gaming has been on the rise for years, with a lot of money being invested into it. Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban has repeatedly mentioned being a fan, and other wealthy Dallas investors are following suit. Like traditional sports (a la football, basketball, etc.), esports are typically team events involving coaches, training schedules, nutritionists and everything else you expect from professional athletics -- the athletes just play digital games like Dota 2 instead of physical contests like hockey.
There has been a lot of esports activity in the D-FW area, especially over the past year. Two of the world's biggest teams, Team Envy and OpTic Gaming, have set up shop in Dallas. Team Envy runs the Dallas Fuel, the city's Overwatch League team.
"I know the gaming community across the globe is going to fall in love with this stadium and with Arlington," Williams says. "We're ready for the biggest tournaments in the esports industry to call Arlington home."
Beyond the event space for competitive tournaments, Esports Stadium Arlington will also have areas for retail and social spaces, a broadcast studio and team training areas.
This is not the first time Arlington has made a mark on the world of esports. Last year, the University of Texas at Arlington took home the grand prize in Heroes of the Dorm, a collegiate tournament for Blizzard Entertainment's game Heroes of the Storm.
"We are proud of our students and pleased that they will be able to share in the events and competitions that will take place in this world-class facility just 10 minutes from campus," said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said in a statement. "I'm grateful for the wonderful collaboration that exists between UT Arlington, the city and our community and look forward to another wonderful partnership that will keep Arlington and the metroplex at the forefront of this new exciting enterprise."