Arlington Convention Center to be renovated into high-tech esports arena

The city of Arlington wants to build what it hopes will become another destination spot for sports fan by investing in the future of professional competitive video gaming.

The city plans to transform the Arlington Convention Center into a state-of-the-art esports arena through a $10 million private-public partnership.

Jonathon Oudthone is president of NGAGE, which would manage the venue. He spoke at the official announcement Wednesday morning.

Professional e-gaming teams like the Dallas Fuel could potentially compete in the stadium, as would other local e-gaming stars.

Dallas Fuel co-owner Ken Hersh is a potential investor in the stadium. He and others hope the public comes to watch.

"Lots of fans cheering,” Oudthone said. “I mean one thing about the esports crowd is that the esports community is extremely passionate about the teams."

If approved by the city council, 100,000 square feet of the convention center would be converted to accommodate the stadium. The city would invest up to $10 million, paid back by leasing the space and by lucrative naming rights.

The sport is incredibly popular. Online viewers number in the millions for some events.

UT Arlington already has a world recognized gaming presence.

"And having something this large that can really facilitate bigger events that we're looking to host, it's just a dream come true,” said Christian Gross with the UTA Esports Organization.

For the city of Arlington, the e-gaming world represents big money — and not just for the star gamers and teams.

"Imagine the opportunity for companies to be able to sponsor in esports and to be able to advertise to millennials,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams.

The convention center will still use the space for other events as well. It would just be outfitted for esports. The goal is for the stadium to be up and running by this fall.

The city council is expected to consider the proposal in the coming weeks.        

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