The Esports Stadium in Arlington is welcoming fans back into the building for its first live esports competition in more than a year.
The stadium was built in 2019 and is recognized as the largest esports facility in North America. Chino Lee serves as the stadium’s Chief Revenue Officer.
“Esports is a booming industry that’s booming the last couple of years,” Lee said. “The easiest way to put it is with viewership. The viewership for the NFL in 2019 was 141 million. Right below them in second place was with esports at 81 million viewers.”
The stadium is hosting the Battle for Texas match on Friday between the Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League. The match is the first large esports event since February 2020.
The Outlaws will be playing from Houston, meaning only the Fuel will be presented to the audience in Arlington on Friday.
Justin Rojas, Vice President of Envy Gaming, said the event is expected to draw fans from across the country and some overseas. Capacity is limited to 50% with the roughly 1,000 available tickets selling out within 72 hours.
“I think our fans, in particular, are being very passionate about the game and our team. They’re really excited to get back into the space. It’s a really big community for us. The game itself is all about community and working as a team,” Rojas said.
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Cesar DeLeon drove from San Antonio to watch the event in person.
“The road trip was worth it. I had, like, a bunch of beef jerky on the way here. We’re filling up on snacks,” DeLeon said. “Especially to have a group…like, all these people. Usually in public, okay…I’m just a weird guy who plays Overwatch, but all these people play Overwatch and it’s freaking great.”
Felipe Sorto of Irving attended the match Friday with his brother.
“I’m a huge fan of basketball and football but getting a little break from that stuff and watching a game I play really excites me,” Sorto said.
Lee said while many attendees are local, the national event is poised to provide an economic boost for the city of Arlington.
“It drives a lot of revenue for the city,” he said. “So the hotel business is happy. The restaurants are happy. Obviously, we are happy.”
The match begins at 5 p.m. and will also be streaming on the Overwatch League’s Youtube channel.