Chicago will soon be home to a 108,000 square-foot esports arena.
Local media reports that Smash Interactive is planning to build the $30 million complex with room for over 1,000 spectators, a virtual reality hangout, and office space for the company’s corporate headquarters. The gaming-focused arena will also have restaurants.
According to Block Club Chicago, “ticketed esports events at the arena would happen primarily during the evenings and weekends, but the space would also be available to members of the public looking to hold an event with a virtual reality component.”
The esports stadium is planned for Bronzeville on Chicago’s South Side. The neighborhood is the cultural center of Chicago’s large African American community. In fact, Bronzeville is historically known as the “Black Metropolis.” It is located about six miles south of the city’s bustling downtown.
For decades, esports were common in places like South Korea. Their popularity has grown in the United States in recent years. American cities, including smaller markets like South Bend, Indiana where a regional esports arena recently opened, are seeing interest in arenas. The interest is likely only going to increase as esports further enters the mainstream.
Members of the public will get a chance to learn more about the new Chicago esports arena during a free event on August 20 at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Kaplan Institute. That may be the next time that we hear more details about the upcoming arena, including a potential opening date and planned competitions.