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.

108 Comments
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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 108 comments about this story
108 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for kuda001
kuda001

Unfortunately, wrong medium for video games. I would focus and improve the online platform. Much more cost effective and has far greater reach. Unless your having events on a weekly basis, how can you justify the costs.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >> The bigger the venue, the more money MLG makes from ticket sales. The bigger the event, the more online viewers. The more online viewers, the more money MLG gets from ads and commercials.

Avatar image for kuda001
kuda001

<< LINK REMOVED >> Fair enough but what I am saying is re-direct those resources to the online platform and you can generate more revenue that way. Every one enjoys watching tournaments every now and again but you don't need a 15,000 seat stadium to do that. It seems an excessive waste of money.

Avatar image for steve_esquire
Steve_Esquire

True. If they make it a huge event, people will tune in. It doesn't matter what happens on screen, as long as they get the hype and spread the word, it could be a massive success.

Avatar image for Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

It's so stupid... -_-

Avatar image for terrariafan247
Terrariafan247

Thats pretty damn small. Most if not all of the Premier League (English football/soccer) stadia seat more.

Avatar image for nl_skipper
NL_Skipper

<< LINK REMOVED >> No shit Sherlock.. did you just compare Soccer popularity to video games?!

Avatar image for terrariafan247
Terrariafan247

Considering how they made $1 billion in 3 days off a single game I'd say games are pretty popular.

Avatar image for blackothh
blackothh

too small

Avatar image for playstationzone
PlaystationZone

if we live to see it just heard russia will lose videogames coming from the west and japan and uk so ,

Avatar image for Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Will they be able to fill a 15,000 seat arena?

Avatar image for blackothh
blackothh

<< LINK REMOVED >> my guess is it will sell out within an hour of going on sale. they are building too small, they should aim for 150,000

Avatar image for terrariafan247
Terrariafan247

No way will they be able to build 150,000. Wembley stadium only seats 90,000 and that's England's main stadium!

Avatar image for blackothh
blackothh

<< LINK REMOVED >> i guessed at 150,000. thanks for clairification, but i do believe that they are building too small

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@Megavideogamer There's a sucker born every minute, and geeks want to legitimize what they do. So probably at least for a short time they will.

Avatar image for Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

<< LINK REMOVED >> Except competitive gaming has been around for years, and probably will stick around for a long time if its trend continues. Just because you don't like something, it doesn't make those people 'suckers', or trying to 'legitimize' anything.

Avatar image for dhsk8sb
dhsk8sb

LMFAO this is just utterly ridiculous.. WTF.......

Avatar image for wookiegr
wookiegr

What can they play if there is a ban on everything they play?

Avatar image for realshooter305
realshooter305

<< LINK REMOVED >> goat simulator

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >> They just lifted a 13 year console ban in China and it is considered a huge up and coming market for gaming.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Did you miss the article stating all the rules which will allow a game to be banned e.g. promoting violence? That's 80% of the good stuff gone right off the bat.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> I certainly hope it succeeds, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying it would be silly for us to cover our ears and be all like 'Yup, it'll succeed, I don't see a single problem, they know what they're doing!'. It's not like I have 0 reason to fear it facing problems.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If these companies are going to spend billions on this arena, I'm sure they have a pretty good idea that they can pull it off and make some money.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> I'm pretty sure that Macau is part of the People's Republic of China, but I could be wrong on that. I also see what you mean about the Japanese making for a good audience and I do hope the ban is lifted, I'm just saying that as it is, while that rule is in place, I feel the lack of violent games is going to somewhat limit the appeal. Now of course only time will tell with certainty, but that's just how it seems to me as things stand right now.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It means that Japanese gamers will be flooding this arena to play and watch, and that is huge business. I don't know that it is in China, it says it is off the coast of Macau. Also rules change, just look at how they lifted that console ban.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, but as far as I know Japan doesn't have any bans on violent games so what does that have to do with anything? And why wouldn't the violence ban apply to this arena? If the arena is in China, surely it has to follow the rules of the country it resides in?

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Just because it is near China doesn't mean that violence ban applies to this arena. You do realize it is also near Japan? And they love RTS games.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Then why did you bring that up when your initial example was 'sports games'. You've just contradicted yourself with 'There are still sports games,' followed by not listing a sports game as an example of what games would appear there.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It's not. Real time strategy. Like StarCraft.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Well I never considered an RTS game a sports game to begin with.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I don't think MLG cares if you think it is a stupid idea. If they end up making money from it, then it will have worked. And I don't think FIFA would be the game they end up watching. It would probably end up being one of those RTS games.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Well it's a stupid idea. To my knowledge most people who would bother tuning into watching people play games aren't going to have an interest in watching them play Fifa.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Good for you. I don't think one random person not watching is going to affect the bottom line.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> I hope they do, and god knows the last thing I'm going to be watching is sports games.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> There are still sports games, and I'm sure they'll come up with something. Game makers are not going to ignore a market that huge.

Avatar image for PS4andXoneGamer
PS4andXoneGamer

<< LINK REMOVED >> Candy crush saga?

Avatar image for GSyygeniobastardoyyGS
GSyygeniobastardoyyGS

LOL Made in China. Beware gamers!it's not the great wall.

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

I know that "gamers" are desperate to legitimize themselves and the medium, but is this really the way to do it?

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >> "Gamers" aren't doing this. It is business people who want to make money from the gaming industry.

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The "business people" aren't the ones filling arenas to watch little Billy Sullivan click away at a mouse and keyboard, and claiming that pressing a button makes them an "athlete" when they couldn't lift a 5lbs. weight. And there's a lot of half finished projects in China and the Pacific Rim. They keep building because the governments believe that as long as they keep building, the GDP keeps going up. Meanwhile you have brand new cities for up to fifty million people, with nobody living in them. I wouldn't be surprised if this project stalls mid way through development, or gets scrapped completely.

Avatar image for cracka123
cracka123

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>

- Not every gamer is an obese, diabetic wimp. Generally, Chinese guys also play a lot of basketball.


- This is not a public works initiative. This is private money being risked to make more money, so your point about ghost cities and government excess is completely irrelevant and shows that you know little to nothing about China's economy, government, or economics in general.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Who said the "business people" are filling the arenas? They are the ones building the arena, which is why MLG is involved in this. Fans of the games fill the arena, not business people.