Blizzard continues to march towards a new wave for esports with the announcement that the company will open a brand new facility for esports competition: the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles. Based in the Burbank Studios, the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will be the home of a variety of Blizzard esports competitions year-round and eventually the Overwatch League later this year.
The Blizzard Arena transforms the TV studio into what the company calls a "custom-tailored" venue for all kind of live esports competitions and broadcasts. The arena opens on October 7 which will kickoff the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs where European and North American teams will battle it out for the crown for each region. Then, on October 13 the Hearthstone Summer Championship will host a weekend of competition with a $250,000 prize.
This of course leads up to the Overwatch League games which in its first year will be held completely in LA (future games will have away and home matches like in other sports).
As a former television studio, the Blizzard Arena is equipped with multiple sound stages, control rooms, and practice areas along with broadcasting capabilities. Of course Blizzard makes sure to mention that the Area will also have a Blizzard retail store with a rotating stock of merchandise depending on the competition.
"We're at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment," said Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime in a statement.
The Blizzard Arena Los Angeles marks a huge step forward for Blizzard, not just for the Overwatch League, but for all Blizzard esports. While the Overwatch League remains Blizzard's most ambitious esports project, the Blizzard Arena ensures that the company has a stage to host all their biggest esport events both for live audiences and television.