Oakland levels up with an eSports arena

Louis LaVenture,

When new arenas and Oakland are mentioned, usually the Oakland Raiders come to mind.

Even the Golden State Warriors or the Oakland Athletics would be more deserving of a new arena, but it was the egaming community that got one instead. The collaboration between ESports Arena, based in Southern California, and Allied eSports from China was announced on Aug. 11 by company officials.

The building is a primarily glass structure in Jack London Square in Downtown Oakland adjacent to the Amtrak station. The demand for e-sports is not new, the industry is growing fast and officials hope the arena will be finished by the end of this year or the beginning of 2017, just in time to capitalize on the growth. E-sports tournaments have popped up all over the world and draw thousands of competitors, viewers, fans and millions of dollars in prizes.

According to San Francisco based Twitch, a live streaming and video platform that was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for $1.1 billion, they have 10 million daily viewers.

According to Forbes Magazine, the e-sports industry will rake in nearly $500 million in total revenue in 2016 and if participation continues to grow that number could reach over $1 billion by 2019.

The new 16,000 square foot arena will have at least 1,000 seats and capitalize on the popularity of games like “League of Legends”, “Dota2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” which had tournaments draw over 10,000 people at SAP Center in San Jose last year.

Paul Ward, the CEO of ESports Arena said that previous models of arenas have included a membership and monthly fee, which helps take care of the day- to-day costs.

According to Allied eSports, the Oakland arena is one of eight similar venues that will be built in America and Europe.

The first arena opened last year in Santa Ana, which charges $18 for a monthly pass and $10 for a one-day pass or a continual membership for $13 per month. Officials are hopeful the arena will be open for the holiday season.