Esports arena draws big crowds for opening weekend

Selling out stadiums in Arlington isn't anything new, but what about selling out a brand new esports stadium packed with fans from around the country?

Saturday kicked off the grand opening for the new facility hosting the Esports Championship Series.

Founders say this is the largest stadium dedicated to esports in North America, bringing in more than 1,000 visitors on the sold out opening weekend.

The world of esports is spreading quickly in North Texas and beyond. Jacob Chesney has been gaming since he was 6-years-old. Now he's helping coordinate a new esports program at Texas Wesleyan University. He also made sure he was there for the grand opening in Arlington.

"When you have something that's set aside specifically for esports, I think that's the kind of legitimacy this sort of thing needs," said Chesney.

Teams competing for the $750,000 prize during the inaugural weekend came from Europe and North America.

 "With us being right next to AT&T stadium where the Cowboys play, or Globe Life Park right where the Rangers play, or even with Six Flags Over Texas right behind us, it's great because we add onto that effect of being another entertainment destination for people to go to," said Esports Venue LLC President Jonathon Oudthone. "Esports, it's a global phenomenon, it's not just a North American league, or a single sport, it's multiple sports, with multiple different fans and communities, and all those communities travel all across the globe, so having them come visit Arlington is obviously a great opportunity for the city."

The world of esports is now a multi-million-dollar industry with big names like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones investing in franchises.

"Merchandise, parking, food and beverage, ticket sales, etc; That's been one of the things that's been missing from esports to take it to that next level, to have that dedicated infrastructure so you can have thousands of people coming in to watch your favorite teams compete," said Oudthone.

Event organizers say the opening of a stadium dedicated to esports is just the next step.

"This adds a sense of togetherness to communities, and I'm really excited to see what other events they have here," said Chesney.

The stadium has two more events scheduled before the end of 2018 and will also be open 7 days a week. 

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