e-Sports Stadium is the first sports venue in the world designed specifically for online gaming. (e-Sports is the abbreviation of “Electronic Sports”.) Opened in December 2005, the e-Sports Stadium is an arena that hosts online games in the form of sports coverage, so that while professional gamers (or pro-gamers) are playing a game on stage, spectators are cheering from the gallery.
A stadium for the e-sports craze
Ever since cable TV channels first began televising online games (i.e. Starcraft), the craze for e-sports has grown exponentially and the need for an exclusive venue for e-sports became evident. As a result, the stadium was built in 2005 to support and foster the e-sports craze. The title of "pro-gamer" is now considered a job and professional career, and world of sports commentating as expanded to include e-sports commentators. A total of 23 e-sports events are now officially recognized in Korea, and about 10 pro-gamer groups and over 400 pro-gamers are actively playing.
Gaming fans love the stadium because it is an arena where they can sit in the gallery and enjoy live commentary as they watch pro-gamers play in a transparent glass-fitted game room. Instead of teams, each fan cheers on their favorite pro-gamer.
View of the stage in the stadium
With the boom in e-sports, Korea even has its own specialist commentators
Hand prints of high-skilled pro-gamers
Fans enjoying a meeting with their idols
500-seat e-Sports Stadium
A venue for cultivating pro-gamers
e-Sports Stadium holds pro-gamer contests and various e-sports competitions. Since its opening, the stadium has vitalized the amateur league and served as a catalyst for e-sports with the expansion of participating age groups and the establishment of a women’s league.
Amateur competitions are held on the weekends. Winning participants of the amateur competitions are then ranked as “semi-professional”, and a semi-professional competition is held once a year for a duration of 17 weeks. A pro-gamer initiation contest is also held every month. In addition to competitions, the stadium is also increasing the number of game genres to cover a wide range, from shooting games to car racing. A competition for the famous Korean racing game “Cart Rider” is held every year. e-Sports Stadium is not only a venue for competition coverage, it is a contributing factor in the expansion of e-sports.
Professional league game organized by KESPA (Korean e-Sports Players Association)
Po-gamer sitting in a game box engrossed in his game.
View of the stadium seen from the stage
Logos of various games displayed in the stadium