Blizzard Entertainment has been a big player in esports for years. It’s hosted major StarCraft and World of WarCraft tournaments, and Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch have all received lots of tournament love since their inception. But after so many years of simply delving into the esports arena, the company has decided to build its own.
The Blizzard Arena Los Angeles (located in Burbank Studios) will be one of the first arenas in the United States to built specifically with esports events in mind. It will open on October 7, with the start of the Overwatch Contenders Season One playoffs. It will then host the Hearthstone Championship Tour’s Summer Championship, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, and more tournaments involving Blizzard’s own games.
Though the company isn’t entirely closed off to hosting non-Blizzard events, the company says it has “built this facility primarily with Blizzard activities in mind,” meaning there are no current plans to host outside tournaments, sports events, concerts, or birthday parties.
This is one of the many steps that has to happen before Blizzard can fully take over the world, so I’m fine with it. It’s also natural that at some point, a publisher would be frustrated enough with the stipulations and restrictions of a conventional arena (and have the enormous stocks of cash) to build their own. I’m not sure about the long-term viability of that, but hey, if anyone’s got the money to throw around for it, it’s Blizzard.