By Tim Ciesco March 14, 2018NBCDFW
If there was ever a competition to determine which city is truly the “sports and entertainment capital of the world”, Arlington would certainly be a contender.
The third largest city in North Texas is already home to AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park, Six Flags Over Texas, and the College Park Center (home of UTA athletics and the Dallas Wings).
In 2020, the new $1.1 billion Globe Life Field will open, elevating Arlington’s status in that realm even further.
And Wednesday, city leaders announced that another new stadium is coming — one that will serve as a permanent home for one of the most rapidly growing sectors in all of sports entertainment.
“We are creating the most unique and technologically advanced space available,” said Ron Price, President and CEO of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Arlington is partnering with Esports Ventures LLC to open a 100,000 square foot Esports stadium inside the city’s existing convention center.
The stadium would host local, national, and international eSports (or more simply put, video gaming) competitions — and would be the largest such venue in the United States.
The popularity of competitive gaming is growing at an exponential pace. In 2017, the industry was valued at $493 million. By 2020, it’s expected to surge to $1.5 billion.
Even Jerry Jones has become caught up in the craze. In November, he became the part owner of an eSports team.
“Being on the forefront of new ideas and setting trends is in our DNA, said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “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.”
As part of the agreement, Esports Ventures LLC will invest $10 million in the project and then lease the space from the city for 10 years, with an option for a 10-year renewal.
eSports Stadium Arlington is expected to open in the fall.
The Arlington Convention Center will still host non-gaming events in the portion of the center not used by the stadium.