Up-and-coming esports stadium company Glytch has announced its plan to build a versatile esports arena in Columbus, Ohio. The project will be the second stadium built by the company in North America, following its first venture in Los Angeles, Calif.
Glytch partnered with Populus, an experimental design firm aimed at promoting emotional connectivity, to build 32 esports facilities across North America in the next seven years. Populus is no stranger to designing esports stadiums, either. The company designed an Arlington, Va., esports arena in the past, as well as “the first new-construction, purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere,” Fusion Arena.
While the Fusion project amassed $50 million in costs for its 65,000-sf arena, the Columbus stadium is planned to spread over 100,000 sf—with sitting room for 2,000 attendees.
"We firmly believe this is the next step in esports,” said Michael Williams, Founder and CEO, Glytch, in a press release. “We want everyone across the country to enjoy what this phenomenon has to offer.”
Growth of Ohio esports arenas
Surprisingly, Ohio already has a booming interest in esports across the state. Ohio University’s recently-opened esports arena not only supplies a place for gamers to practice and compete, but also attracts students to join the university.
Several other Ohio universities have established esports teams as well. Even Microsoft has skin in the game by hiring Ohio-based Esports Engine to expand the esports presence of Microsoft’s popular video game, Halo.
According to Glytch, budding interest in the industry led to the opening of several gaming centers in the central Ohio region, including the Belong Gaming Arena in Columbus.
The company’s new Columbus project will satisfy more than the gaming community, however. Glytch wants its arenas to be versatile enough to host comedy shows, concerts, TED Talks, and more alongside professional esports team competitions. Each arena comes with immersive environments and secondary attractions as well, according to Williams. This includes virtual reality (VR) simulator rooms, food and beverage options, classic arcade machines, and drone racing.
The esports arena market: Is it viable?
These attractions are the key to profitability for the arenas, says Williams. While some people speculate the viability of dedicated esports stadiums, Glytch envisions its location-based entertainment as the answer to most concerns.
“We want to be a micro amusement park. I think there’s a market for an amusement park where you can park your car, go inside, drop a hundred dollars and go home and have a great time with the whole family and come back the next day,” says Williams.
In this case, Glytch’s stadiums aim to maintain a steady cash flow on a more regular basis than your average football or baseball stadium.
Glytch plans to develop all of its 32 arenas, including the Columbus project, with Populus as the main design architect. Additionally, Glytch is partnering with The Buckeye Group business consultancy and Scenario, a fabrication company.
Glytch hopes to break ground on the Columbus project in spring 2023, and open the venue in 2024–2025.