With the announcement of the $50-million Fusion Arena as part of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, Comcast Spectator and The Cordish Companies are putting eSports facilities on the same level as traditional sports facilities – and maybe a little beyond.
Fusion Arena, envisioned as home to the Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion, is billed as the largest new, purpose-built eSports arena in the Western Hemisphere. Designed by Populous, the new eSports arena is adjacent to the Xfinity Live entertainment district and part of the same south Philly complex housing Citizens Bank Park (home of the Phillies), Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Eagles) and Wells Fargo Center (home of the Flyers and 76ers). Seating up to 3,500 Fusion Arena is designed both as a destination for competitive gaming events as well as other live entertainment offerings.
“We’re thrilled to introduce a venue like no other as we move forward with the next phase of development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” said Dave Scott, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Spectacor, via press release. “Fusion Arena gives eSports fans a best-in-class venue to call home and be proud of. Beyond competitive gaming, it’s a stunning facility that will host a wide array of events.”
“It is a tremendous honor for The Cordish Companies to grow its partnership with Comcast Spectacor and bring a state-of-the-art, world-class eSports and entertainment venue to the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies, via press release. “Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment amid Philadelphia’s professional sports teams. Today’s announcement marks an exciting moment for the Comcast Spectacor-Cordish partnership as the next phase of Xfinity Live! continues to unfold.”
As noted, the 60,000-square-foot Fusion Arena will be the largest custom-built eSports arena upon opening. Esports Stadium Arlington, also designed by Populous, is larger at 100,000 square feet, but that Texas facility was a conversion from existing Arlington Convention Center space.
“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” said Populous Senior Principal Brian Mirakian, via press release. “We’re taking our 35 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports–settings like Yankee Stadium–and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”
Fusion Arena will feature a cutting-edge arena design, beginning with a sleek exterior skin and an industrial interior that pays tribute to Philadelphia’s heritage as the “workshop of the world.” A 6,000-square-foot public entry will greet guests as they enter the space and includes 2,000 square feet of interactive media surface hovering 30 feet above them.
The technologically advanced arena will offer unique seating experiences, according to a press release, including two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices. The training facility in particular separates the Fusion from other eSports squads, offering unrivaled experiences and development opportunities for players.
“We are thrilled to bring this ambitious idea to life and celebrate the arrival of Fusion Arena with gaming enthusiasts throughout the region and beyond,” said Joe Marsh, Chief Business Officer of Spectacor Gaming and the Philadelphia Fusion. “This project places eSports alongside all the major traditional sports that call South Philadelphia home.”
Fusion Arena joins a revitalized Philadelphia Sports Complex, where a $250-million renovation initiative includes upgrades to Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park. Also part of Philadelphia Sports Complex changes: Pattison Place, an $80-million, new construction Class-A office tower.
Images courtesy Comcast Spectator and The Cordish Companies.