Blizzard Entertainment has announced Thursday that it’s creating an esports arena near to the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California.
According to a press release the stadium, entitled Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, is due to host a “steady schedule” of live events, to include Hearthstone’s championship tour, the Overwatch league and more.
The stadium is situated in the Burbank Studios, previously home to a host of American TV shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saved by the Bell and Night Court. The arena will open on October 7 and Blizzard will be hosting the Overwatch Season One Playoffs that same weekend, where they’ll look to crown their own Fresh Prince. The Fresh Prince (or Princess) of competitive video games.
“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, in a statement.
“As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.”
Formerly a massive TV studio, the Blizzard Arena has multiple sound stages, control rooms and practice facilities, providing Blizzard with their own full-service solution for esports events on their doorstep. The arena will also house a Blizzard retail store which will change up its stock based on what events are going on at the time.
Blizzard claim that the arena will host Overwatch League matches later this year when the Overwatch League kicks off, reconfirming their plans to launch the OWL this year, but also that matches will be held in the Arena. Whether this just means the Los Angeles held matches or if players from around the world will be flying in for each fixture remains to be seen.
Similarly, several Call of Duty esports events are held in Burbank, California. It’ll be interesting to see if Activision-Blizzard will be taking full advantage of the space, or if it’s just limited to Blizzard games at this stage.