If it seems like new facilities for esports are popping up everywhere, it’s because they kind of are.
At the professional level, beginning next year, the Overwatch League will require all its teams to be physically based in the home cities they already represent, to play home and away matches like more traditional sports, the league’s commissioner announced during the South By Southwest Conference.
The league, which publisher Activision Blizzard launched two years ago and whose games were broadcast on ESPN and ABC this season, has always tied its franchises to specific cities in the United States, Europe and Asia. But all teams played their matches in the Blizzard Arena, once the studio where Johnny Carson broadcast his iconic late-night talk show in “scenic, historic downtown” Burbank, Calif.
Now, the league’s 20 teams are scooping up space in their “home” cities, in some cases redoing existing facilities, in others, creating new ones.
The most elaborate new facility almost certainly will be the $50 million esports stadium that Comcast unit Spectacor, which also owns the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, said it will build for its Fusion team. The arena will go up in one part of 47 acres in south Philadelphia where other facilities for live events, baseball, hockey and football are already built or planned…