World's first video game stadium gets underway

15,000-seat "MLG Arena" coming to Hengqin Island, off the coast of Macau; scheduled to open in 2017.

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This is a stock image from MLG, not the new MLG Arena
This is a stock image from MLG, not the new MLG Arena

[UPDATE] Rod "Slasher" Breslau at GameSpot sister site onGamers has conducted an interview with MLG president Mike Sepso about the announcement. Below is a highlight from his interview, and you can read more at onGamers.

"This development on Hengquin Island is a true stadium and the first of its kind," Sepso told onGamers. "This is a massive development in one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Additionally, the China gaming market is enormous and the fastest growing on earth. The anticipated launch of the MLG Arena in 2017 will give MLG a very strong foothold in that market but also a marquis travel destination to showcase eSports at the highest level."

"In the US we have been working on partnerships with existing stadiums and arenas and we will be announcing those later this year."

The original story is below.

The eSports scene continues to grow. Major League Gaming announced plans this week to build the world's first "MLG Arena," a 15,000-seat stadium on Hengqin Island, which is off the coast of popular gambling hot-spot Macau.

MLG announced the news Thursday, in partnership with Lai Fung Holdings Limited and eSun Holdings Limited. The new MLG Arena, located in what the company is calling the "V-Zone," is planned as the centerpiece of an $18 billion "Creative Culture City" initiative for the Hengqin Island.

In addition to operating as the site of the first-ever MLG Arena, the V-Zone is going to include an expo area for game developers to feature new and upcoming games, as well as gaming-themed restaurants and retail shops. The MLG Arena is scheduled to open in 2017, though no images of the stadium have been released.

MLG says Hengqin is an ideal location for its first stadium because it's located just five minutes from Macau, 30 minutes from Hong Kong, and within 100km of five international and domestic airports. In addition, the Chinese gaming market is massive. The number of gamers in the country has now surpassed the total number of American citizens, according to data from research firm EEDAR.

MLG's expansion to China represents the eSports company's second major international news this year, following the launch of MLG Brasil in February. Additional details about the MLG Arena in Hengqin, the V-Zone itself, and further international expansion will be announced in the months ahead, MLG said.

The League of Legends World Championship Finals are held at Los Angeles' massive Staples Center, while MLG typically holds its events at various convention centers. There's no word yet if MLG or any other eSports company plans to open a video game-specific arena in the US.

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