For e-Sport fans, there’s no better way to experience gaming than watching your favourite stars compete in packed e-sport arenas. As great as Twitch has been for eSports, most CoD fans will agree that it doesn’t compare to the experience of just sitting in front of a computer screen and watching. Being in the middle of the magic with fans cheering and screaming for their favourite teams gives an incredible thrill that one can never experience watching at home.
As e-sports continues its expansion and growth, more and more e-sport arenas are opening up worldwide. Major gaming tournaments, like the League of Legends World Championship and Dota 2’s The International, are held in huge, already-existing stadiums for major sports or entertainment events. However, many organizations and companies choose to build dedicated arenas only for e-sports. Listed below are the best e-sport arenas and gaming venues around the world.
E-sports Stadium in Arlington
This is an e-sport stadium that can seat 2500 fans during a match. The venue cannot rival the enormous capacity of any other on this list, but its unusual design is a refreshing change. They inaugurated it in 2018 and welcomed its first international-level competition shortly after. A most notable event was when Astralis emerged victorious in the last round of the Esports Championship Series by FACEIT for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They walked away with half a million dollars. The following year, Astralis won the $500k prize for a second time at this venue. The venue also hosts other competitions including Madden NFL, Fortnite, Valiant, and some others.
Anaheim Convention Center
The size is often underestimated due to its proximity to larger areas. However, over 40,000 people visited the e-sport arena in 2018 alone. It seats at least 7500 fans in a single game when at total capacity. Its first year hosting Blizzcon was 2005. However, in recent years, it has taken a back seat to the company’s other conventions, such as Gamescom, which take place annually in cities like Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France. It still hosts significant events and occasions, such as opening ceremonies for games like Overwatch or Hearthstone.
For 2019, it hosted the first-ever Grandmasters of Hearthstone, the three stages of the Overwatch World Cup, global finals for StarCraft II World Championship, and World of Warcraft Arena. Not bad for such a small location! The centre also hosted the 2020 DreamHack Open just before the pandemic broke out so visitors could enjoy captivating contests in Fortnite, Counter-Strike, Halo: Reach, among several other games.
This small Polish Arena is iconic for all fans of CS: GO and League of Legends in Eastern Europe — take my word for it. It was home to ESL Intel Extreme Master Events, famously organized there in 2013, and can accommodate 11,500 fans. Katowice served as host to StarCraft II and LoL but then added CS: GO games.
CSKA Arena in Moscow
Although many venues, including the Olympic Stadium in Athens, were initially constructed solely for hosting traditional sporting events, they designed this venue from day one to be a multipurpose space that would eventually welcome gamers. In addition, the arena hosted many tournaments in the e-sport industry during that time. One match was the summer split final of The LoL CS: GO EPICENTER playoffs and Continental League. Recently, the venue has hosted a variety of games, including WoT and Dota 2. In 2017, the World Grandmaster League brought together the top players from four continents who competed in a grand final for $300,000. It is among the biggest e-sport arenas on our list today, with a capacity to seat 14000 fans.
Even an amateur in the gaming world would tell that there are cool guys in Ninjas in Pyjamas and Fnatic. For a country that is so committed to electronic sports, it is not surprising that Sweden has its own gaming Mecca. The venue has a capacity of 15,000 seats. The venue began its journey in 2016. Top-flight CS: GO teams met there, vying for $250,000 in prize money, and Ninjas in Pyjamas took home the victory as expected. Malmö Arena became the site for the contest in 2017 and 2019, bestowing wins on G2 Esports and Fnatic, respectively.
Royal Arena in Copenhagen
Just a year after it opened, the stadium has attracted many high-tech events. It wasn’t until organizers of other e-sports leagues, such as League of Legends, realized the potential they could leverage. Fnatic triumphantly defeated G2 Esports in Berlin for €80,000 and a ticket to the Mid-Season Invitational in the same arena. There is a clear connection between Riot Games and RFRSH Entertainment, as the former parrots or copies characteristics from the latter. After a hiatus, Fortnite will host the BLAST Pro Series on its in-game news feed once again. The e-sport arena has a capacity of 17,000 seats for its fans.
Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai
The arena can hold a capacity of 18000 fans in a single game. When KeyArena was unavailable for Valve’s major event, the Shanghai facility picked up the slack and hosted. The venue’s first attraction of Dota 2 fans and players was in 2016 when it hosted the Shanghai Major. This competition of 16 professional Dota 2 teams generated over $3 million. Despite many challenges, it became apparent that the stadium would host the next year’s international tournament.
Barclays Center in New York
They have used the venue as a training ground, hosting other MTV Awards and gymnastic champions. In 2016, tourism officials also partnered with an international gaming expo to bring eSports into the country. The Barclays Center hosted Overwatch Grand Finals for the first time in 2018, and the London Spitfire teams took home a million-dollar prize. The arena can hold up to 19,000 fans during a single game.
Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney
The Qudos Bank Arena is a massive e-sports stadium with an Olympic-scaled design. One can only wonder why this venue was not considered years ago, as the “missed out” gaming arena was completed in 2017. ESL announced Sydney would be the location for IEM’s Australian matches in 2020. It came after ESL hosted CS: GO tournaments there annually between 2018 and 2019. The organizers increased the prize money from $200,000 to $250,000 this year to include 16 teams instead of eight. However, because of transportation and accommodation difficulties, ESL moved the event from Sydney to Melbourne.