Comcast Spectacor To Build $50M Esports Arena in Philadelphia
New venue will be the latest esports-specific stadium and the largest new-construction build in Western Hemisphere
Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies have announced plans for a new $50 million, 60,000-sq.-ft. esports arena in Philadelphia. Scheduled to open in 2021, Fusion Arena will be located at the Philadelphia Sports Complex. The 3,500-seat venue will serve as home to the Philadelphia Fusion franchise, one of 20 international teams competing in the Overwatch League.
Although several esports-dedicated venues have been launched throughout North America, including Esports Stadium Arlington last November, Fusion Arena marks the largest new-construction esports arena in the Western Hemisphere (ES Arlington occupies a repurposed portion of the Arlington Convention Center. In addition to ES Arlington, esports arenas have opened in Las Vegas (HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor) and Santa Ana and Oakland, CA, in recent years; dozens have been constructed throughout Asia.
Located adjacent to Xfinity Live!, Fusion Arena is slated to host a variety of competitive gaming events in addition to Philadelphia Fusion competitions, as well live entertainment programming and experiences.
“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/CEO, Comcast Spectacor, in the company’s announcement. “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.”
Fusion Arena will be designed by Populous, the architecture firm behind the ES Arlington project and major sports venues ranging from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Construction is set to begin this summer.
“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive-gaming market,” said Populous Senior Principal Brian Mirakian. “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.”
Currently, all Overwatch League matches are played at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, CA, but Commissioner Nate Nanzer recently announced that all Overwatch League teams will be playing in their home cities beginning in 2020. The Fusion team will relocate to Philadelphia and is expected to compete in temporary venues for a year until the new arena opens in 2021.
According to the announcement, the arena’s exterior will feature a sleek and dynamic skin that draws inspiration from the hardware powering esports’ rise around the globe. The incorporation of industrial materials throughout Fusion Arena’s design pays tribute to Philadelphia’s heritage as the “workshop of the world.” A 6,000-sq.-ft. public entry will greet guests as they enter the space and features 2,000 sq. ft. of interactive-media surface hovering 30 ft. above.
“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, The Cordish Companies. “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.”
Among the seating experiences at the technologically advanced arena will be two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes, and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 sq. ft. will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio, and team offices. The training facility in particular separates the Fusion from other facilities in its 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, Spectacor Gaming/Philadelphia Fusion. “This project places esports alongside all the major traditional sports that call South Philadelphia home.”
Details for Fusion Arena arrive as the Wells Fargo Center is in the midst of “Transformation 2020,” an extensive, multi-year $250 million renovation initiative. Fusion Arena adds $50 million of new development within Philadelphia’s Sports Complex, complementing a transformed Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, and Citizens Bank Park.
Fusion Arena is the second of several announcements relating to Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies’ real estate development within the Philadelphia Sports Complex, adjacent to Xfinity Live!. In February, the partnership announced plans for Pattison Place, an $80 million, new-construction Class-A office tower.