Gamers, ready? Fire up the controllers and flat screens.
Localhost Arena opens in Lakewood in November to house esports and gaming — a global industry valued at more than $900 million, according to a Newzoo Global Esports Market Report.
Philadelphia-based N3rd Street Gamers — an amateur esports pipeline — will occupy the 18,000 square-foot space at 1882 S. Wadsworth Blvd., next door to Slammers Bingo. The company aims to attract marquee names in the esports world to the Rocky Mountain region and provide a community setting for casual and competitive gamers.
Efforts from the Denver esports community enticed N3rd Street Gamers to expand to Colorado.
“Denver is close to my heart as a place I have traveled to annually for decades,” said John Fazio, founder and CEO of N3rd Street Gamers. “More importantly, it is a strategic location that provides access to one of the country’s strongest and oldest gaming communities.”
The universities of Colorado, Colorado State, Northern Colorado, Colorado Mesa and Colorado College have esports clubs. UNC competes in four games throughout the collegiate scene: League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter Strike and Rocket League.
“As a competitive program, we strive to become the best collegiate gamers in the nation. As a casual program we aim to create a social structure for gamers of all kinds,” UNC’s campus recreation web page reads.
Esports’ popularity has grown to the extent that ESPN signed a multi-year deal in July for TV rights to the Overwatch Esports League and broadcast its playoffs and finals on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and Disney XD. It was the first time esports aired on ABC and a first for ESPN to place the event in primetime.
“The Overwatch League Grand Finals is by far our most comprehensive television distribution for an esports event over a single weekend,” Disney and ESPN Executive Vice President Justin Connolly said in a statement.
Last year 60 million people worldwide watched the “League of Legends” championships — nearly 40 million more than the 2017 NBA Finals’ five-game average.
Esports also reached the Olympics radar. The International Olympic Committee held a forum in July to discuss its inclusion in the Games. The IOC added skateboarding, surfing and sports climbing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As for Localhost Arena in Lakewood, the space that holds about 1,000 people will feature 120 custom-built gaming PCs equipped with i7-8700K processors, GTX 1080 graphics cards and 240Hz BenQ monitors. Console gamers can choose among Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. And the best part: full gigabit internet fiber connection.
“It’ll be a go-to location for competition, casual gaming, live events and local meet-ups,” said James Love, director of communications for N3rd Street Gamers.
A full-service bar and lounge and a permanent 60-foot long event stage will allow the arena to host esports-related events and tournaments nearly every weekend.
Pricing is $3 an hour, $20 day passes, monthly membership passes, and periodic discounts and perks. Some esports events will charge an entrance fee. Work on the space is ongoing so the hard open date in November is to be determined.
“Localhost Arena will be our largest and most advanced facility,” Fazio said. “And we are excited to push forward innovation in our industry while being a home to developing esports athletes in Colorado.”