Arlington (Texas) Sports Commission Executive Director Matt Wilson was a casual player of Tecmo Bowl and Mike Tyson Punch Out. So his place at the center of the establishment of the country’s biggest esports tournament stadium is a study in opportunism and legwork.
At the end of November, the city of Arlington, Texas, will welcome the first event to Esports Stadium Arlington, the culmination of the city’s $10 million renovation of its convention center to attract competitions of one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
According to Statista.com, global revenues generated in the eSports market in 2016 equaled $492.7 million dollars, a number expected to rise to more than $1.48 billion dollars by 2020. Data research firm Crunchbase estimates that approximately $160 million has been invested in esports in the past five years.
Wilson, who doubles as the Arlington CVB vice president of sports and events, did much of the foundational research to help convince municipal executives that dedicating an arena to esports events was wise. Located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, the 100,000 sq.-ft. venue will seat more than 2,500 spectators and feature a state-of-the-art production studio, custom LED video walls, training rooms, player lounges and hair and makeup studios.
“Are we taking some arrows?” Wilson says. “Pioneers get the arrows, so absolutely, but I think it’s kind of in the spirit of Arlington. This city has kind of always been on the leading edge of what’s that next great thing.”
In announcing her organization’s choice of Arlington for its four-day Esports Championship Series event, Michele Attisani, CBO and co-founder of FACEIT, a leading competitive platform for online multiplayer games, said:
“Bringing ECS to Esports Stadium Arlington was an absolute no-brainer. Not only is it the largest esports venue in the United States, but also the most innovative. No other arena can offer the dynamic combination of fan-facing, team-facing, and production-facing resources as Esports Stadium Arlington, and we can’t wait to be the first event putting them into action.”