Philadelphia Fusion owners Comcast Spectacor have announced ambitious plans for a brand-new home arena in which their Overwatch League team will be based.
Unlike other esports competitions, including the other franchised leagues, Overwatch League’s unique premise has always been the geolocation element. Like traditional sports, Overwatch League teams are named for the cities they’re based in.
For the first two seasons, the name of each team has been their only real link to their “home” towns, as all matches have been played out of the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, California. That’s expected to change in 2020, however, as Season Three of the league should see teams both travelling to and hosting matches in home arenas.
For Philadelphia Fusion, that will mean a brand-new venue they describe as “the first ground-up purpose-built esports arena in the western hemisphere”.
The venue, named Fusion Arena, will cost $50 million and be based in the Philadelphia Sports Complex. It will seat up to 3,500 fans, as well as provide training space for the Philadelphia Fusion team.
“It's going to be up there with what you'd expect from a professional athlete in traditional sports to receive,” Philadelphia Fusion President Tucker Roberts told Cheddar Esports. “On top of that, it's not just sweet space and computers. It's streaming rooms, it's VOD review rooms, it's food and beverage... it's going to take away all of the other issues that you would have to worry about so that you can just focus on the game and focus on teamwork and getting better.”
Before the Overwatch League moves to home venues full-time, there will be several trial weekends during Season Two for which particular teams – the Dallas Fuel in Stage Two, Atlanta Reign in Stage Three, and Los Angeles Valiant in Stage 4 – will host the matches in their home cities.
Naturally, Philadelphia Fusion fans will have to wait until the following season to watch their team compete live on home soil, as construction on the Fusion Arena is scheduled to begin in summer 2019.