Philadelphia Fusion Esports Stadium to Open Late Next Year
The Fusion, Philadelphia's esports team, broke ground on its $50 million stadium this week at the sports complex in South Philly.
An artist's rendering of the exterior of the Fusion Arena in Philadelphia
Photo Courtesy of Fusion
The largest stadium in the country built for esports will be home to Philadelphia's Fusion, an Overwatch team that will have a home to call its own late next year.
Comcast Spectacor broke ground on the $50 million Fusion Arena, which will be in the South Philadelphia sports complex with the Flyers, Sixers, Eagles and Phillies.
"This is the largest new construction purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere," said Andrea Helfrich, arena host for the Flyers, also owned by Comcast Spectacor, which expects to open the new stadium late next year, according to KYW Newsradio.
The venue will seat 3,500 and host other events beyond esports, according to its website.
This weekend, the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Sixers and the Flyers, will host the Overwatch League championship.
Next year, Philadelphia Fusion will play three "home" events — at The Met in Philadelphia on Feb. 15-16 and May 23-24, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, June 6-7, says ESPN.
Tucker Roberts, son of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, is president Fusion and told ESPN it did watch parties to help decide where its fans were and where to build the stadium.
"Initially we thought they'd be in West Philly or University City, but then we actually found out that when we did it at Xfinity Live, we had the biggest turn out by far," he said. "We weren't just looking at the numbers, but we were asking people, 'why did you come out and what do you prefer?' And everybody just preferred [South Philly]."
He watched the inaugural Overwatch League championship last year with his dad in New York.
"[That] was for a father and son relationship, for a father who doesn't play games and a son who does, a moment we could share," the younger Roberts said, adding that he hopes other families will have the same experience at the Fusion Arena.
Esports has not only grown as a professional sport. Schools, including some local ones, have added esports teams as extracurricular activities. Local interest also got a boost this summer when a 16-year-old from Pottsgrove, PA won $3 million as Fortnite champion.