Stadium architect Populous designs largest esports arena in Western Hemisphere
- Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Cos. announced plans for a $50 million purpose-built esports arena in Philadelphia, which the firms said is the first such venue in the Western Hemisphere.
- The Populous-designed, 3,500-seat Fusion Arena, which will be home to the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, will host competitive gaming and other live entertainment events. The 60,000-square-foot venue will feature a futuristic design and will include: a 6,000-square-foot entry; 10,000 square feet for a training center, a broadcast studio and offices; 2,000 square feet of interactive media space 30 feet above attendees; and more.
- Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, but neither Cordish nor Comcast has announced the name of construction managers or contractors slated to be involved.
Fusion Arena will be part of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, along with the Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park. Cordish and Comcast are also developing an $80 million Class A office tower project there.
Esports is a new sports construction niche, and more venues are including this capability in their designs. The Madison Square Garden Co., for instance, plans to make provisions for esports in its Sphere project in Las Vegas. The 360-foot-tall, 500-foot-wide, 18,000-seat arena on the famed Las Vegas Strip will feature a programmable exterior with 36 miles of LED lighting host other live events and immersive shows.
Other scheduled esports construction projects, according to Meetings and Conventions, are two esports arenas in California (Santa Ana and Oakland); two already completed projects in Las Vegas, at the Luxor Hotel & Casino; and another at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas.
The Arlington esports arena is another one of Populous’ projects and part of the firm’s design-build sports practice, through which it plans to build out spaces in existing sports venues during the offseason. Populous has completed the design and construction of the Kids' Corner playground area in Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore under this new strategy, as well as Legends Lobby at the University of Oklahoma's Barry Switzer Center in Norman.
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