Over the last couple of years, e-sports has grown into a multi-billion-dollar global thing that in some ways rivals traditional sports. Hundreds, thousands of people gather live to watch individuals and teams play various games in venues around the world as they battle for millions of dollars in prize money. Meanwhile, millions more watch online.
This week, a new proposal was floated for a 7,000 performance venue at Exhibition Place near downtown Toronto. This would be most welcome. There’s a gap when it comes to indoor venues of that size in the city. Second, it will be designed for spectators watching e-sports competitions. And third, when it’s not being used for e-sports, it’ll be available for music events. It’s hoped that the venue will be booked 180 to 200 nights a year.
The organization behind the pitch is OverActive Media, which owns four pro e-sports teams. The venue would be the home field for Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League and also Toronto Ultra, which comes in Call of Duty. This means it’ll contain locker rooms, player lounges, and practice facilities along with OAM offices, places for fans to player, restaurants and more amenities. Oh, and it’ll be attached to a hotel. OAM has designed this to be the global centre of e-sports.
How much will it cost to build? About $500 million. But damn, the place looks cool. Like a friggin’ spaceship.
Estimates say it’ll take 30 to 36 months to build. A projected opening date is sometime in 2025. The CNE board will vote on the project in March, then comes the whole city planning issues. No tax dollars will be involved.
A half-billion-dollar investment in 4.5 acres of bare concrete on a transit line and major roads? A no-brainer–or so you’d hope.