In order to survive in the forge of the digital age, innovation and change has to be at the forefront of every industry. For commodity retail and hospitality businesses that have seen their customers move overwhelmingly to online spaces, there is a need to fill space with revenue generating opportunities. Marketers and developers have struggled to understand the new generations and their consumer habits, but they may have finally cracked some of that code. Or rather, they simply have figured out what’s important to customers and consumers in a shifting digital age. After Esports started getting coverage on ESPN, more and more people are sponsoring or adopting Esports tournaments into their entertainment and leisure services. And now a trend is emerging that could have a big effect on commercial real estate; the rise of Esports arenas.

What Is An Esports Arena

Esports or electronic sports is the term used to describe competitive, organized video gaming. Competitors can compete individually or as a team in some of the most popular games in tournament style play. Many of these teams are sponsored by companies such as Coca-Cola, Toyota, T-Mobile and more. This is a dynamically growing sport with a lot of revenue being generated, but unlike a lot of sports, these teams had no place to practice and consumers couldn’t watch anywhere except for in their homes at their computers. Esports arenas are streamlining the sports fan experience, providing a venue where viewers can watch their favorite teams play in person, interact with like-minded fans, purchase exclusive merchandise and enjoy the camaraderie of sports they care about. While many in the old guard are still scratching their heads about this new trend, savvy developers are creating or repurposing spaces across the U.S. and the globe for Esports use.

Where Is The Space Coming From?

While this may end up being the next big trend in the commercial real estate sector, there are still a lot of factors that owners and landlords have to consider. These venues demand a number of things to be successful. An arena needs comfortable seating to accommodate visitors for hours, sometimes in excess of 8 to 10 hours in a single tournament. The plays in other sports venues happen on a field or court, but Esports happens on the screen, so every attendee needs to be able to see large screens throughout the arena. Food and merchandise need to be available for people with an appetite and many spaces also offer gaming experiences for people attending the event. All of this needs to be coupled with gaming stations including the computers and chairs, ultra-fast connections for gamers and attendees, and provisions for broadcast across an internet stream for viewers at home. These demands might sound lofty, but some of the most prominent Esports arenas are little more than 11,000 square feet. That’s no small building by any means, but in comparison to Football or Soccer stadiums and their immense size, moderate Esports arenas could be built in a repurposed space in a high population area for a relatively low price.

Esports Arena or Lounge?

While the thrill of competition and the spectacle of sponsored matches is exciting, maintaining a number of expensive gaming stations, high-speed connections and offering enough amenities to satisfy customers can be a pretty expensive meal to swallow. Entrepreneurs are scaling down the massive arena model and creating small lounges where local gamers can enjoy the social aspect of gaming, connect to high speed internet and even watch the live events remotely with friends in a casual environment. These lounges offer a similar experience for a manageable cost, plus you get the added benefit of fostering participation from your local community.

The Challenges for Landlords and Property Managers

These spaces are still enigmatic because the sport is so new and no one has perfected the arena model yet. Major league sporting stadiums have enjoyed years of architectural restructure and hospitality design in order to make the experience exciting and engaging enough for fans to sit in the stands for the entire game. Esports now has to find ways to attract and retain fans that will attend the events. Furthermore, property managers and landlords likely see a lot of lost profits during off seasons at Esports arenas. The intrepid entrepreneur can find a way to keep attendance high though, offering off-season amatuer competitions, concerts and conferences and other revenue generating opportunities.

If you’re that type of intrepid entrepreneur, you’re going to need a good team on your side. The LCI Realty team will help you find the space you need to make this dream come true. Contact our team by calling 480-565-8981 today.