The Esports Arenas are places where CSGO, Dota 2 and League of Legends fans get the chance of seeing their favorite teams live on stage and share in the excitement that only an esports tournament can bring.
Analysing every major competition and league, from big events that can fill an entire stadium to local tournaments with only a few thousand attendees, we put together a list of most popular esports venues where you have the best shot at meeting your idols in the flesh. From London to Sydney and from Los Angeles to Shanghai here’s where the esports scene comes to life:
Continue reading to find out what tournaments and team you can see where and what’s the history behind each and every one.
Is it weird that the venue that we picked for our first position was built way before the term esports was even invented? We don’t think so. Spodek Arena in Katowice was built almost 50 years ago as a sports and cultural events venue but today it’s home for some of the largest esports tournaments in the world.
The 11,000+ seat arena shaped as flying-saucer is home to the Intel Extreme Masters CSGO, Starcraft 2 and Dota 2 tournaments, that in 2019 attracted almost 174,000 attendees. Astralis, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid and many other top teams played in the Spodek Arena over the years, sharing the stage with a plethora of more traditional superstars such as Metallica, Deep Purple or Pearl Jam.
In 2020, the Spodek Arena will host once again the IEM Katowice CSGO and SC 2 tournaments with Astralis and Fnatic already confirmed as participants.
Fun Trivia: Spodek once hosted a cinema, and with its 22x14m dimensions, the screen was one of the largest in all of Poland. In 1973, as many as 104 thousand viewers watched “In Desert and Wilderness” and more than 60 thousand enjoyed “The Godfather”. Also, Fidel Castro once visited the arena. Take that, Madison Square Garden
The Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai was the Mecca of Dota 2 players around the world in 2019, the venue hosting for the first time on Chinese grounds, the annual edition of the concluding tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit: The International.
Built in 2017, the facility is the first Mercedes-Benz named venue outside Europe, it seats 18,000 people, includes 82 luxury suites, various clubs and meeting rooms and receives over 5 million visitors annually. The sheer size of the venue located on the Huangpu River, turned it into the ideal spot for major concerts and events, Bruno Mars, Jennifer Lopez and Maroon 5 performing here. The 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held here.
From the superstars of the esports scene, OG, PSG.LGD and Team Secret played here during the International 2019 while in 2016, during the Dota 2 Shanghai Major, fans had the opportunity to see Team Secret winning over 1 million USD.
Valve isn’t the only publisher that chose the arena for its matches. Riot Games used the venue in 2019 to host its LPL Regional Finals – the conclusion of the Chinese official League of Legends tournament series.
On the cool-to-know side of things, the arena hosted the first National Hockey League game ever played in China. On 21 September 2017, an NHL pre-season game was held in the stadium, with the Vancouver Canucks losing to the LA Kings 5-2.
The Barclays Center in New York is one of the newest venues in our top 10 esports arenas list. The $1 billion arena was built in 2012 as a home for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the NHL’s New York Islanders. The arena offers over 15,000 seats for basketball and hockey, and up to 19,000 seats for concerts. It also features 101 luxury suites and an array of bars, lounges, and clubs.
Rolling Stones, Beyonce, and Rihanna had concerts here and since 2016 the arena is home to ESL One CSGO annual tournaments. ESL One New York has become one of North America’s most important meeting places for esports insiders, experts, athletes turning into the biggest event on the US East Coast.
G2, Evil Geniuses, and NAVI played here in the past years and In May 2018, Blizzard announced the Grand Finals for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League would be held here. The series was the conclusion of the 2018 Overwatch League playoffs and was played between the London Spitfire and the Philadelphia Fusion. The London team claimed the first title of Overwatch League Grand Finals Champions before a two-day attendance of 22,434 spectators.
Finally, an arena built solely for esports. The Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas – the largest gaming and esports events facility in North America, is a $10 million, 100,000 square-foot facility built to serve the unique and technologically advanced demands of the esports industry. Located in Arlington’s entertainment district, the Esports Stadium was conceived to serve the particular requirements of the esports industry and it can accommodate up to 2,000 fans.
The venue features a competition stage with a 26-meters long LED screen with a theatrical lighting system, a Grass Valley broadcast system, an observer room, a caster studio, a data centre, team rooms, and players lounges.
The arena celebrated its grand opening in 2018 with FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals, a $750,000 prize pool tournament that allowed North-American CSGO fans to see North, MIBR and mousesports live, on American soil. The ECS finals will return to Arlington for their Season 8 Finals on November 30th 2019.
Currently, the arena hosts a multitude of esports events, including Fortnite, Call of Duty, Apex Legends and Smash Bros. You can check their schedule here.
We couldn’t have a top 10 esports arenas in the world without including the home of BlizzCon. The Anaheim Convention Center started as a meetings and conventions venue in 1967 with only a fraction of the current space. Following 6 additional expansions plus multiple cosmetics transformations increased the potential exhibit space beyond the 1 million square foot mark turning the Anaheim Convention Center as the largest convention center on the west coast of the United States.
The venue is one of the most important meeting points comic book fans, gamers, and movie enthusiasts as each year the center hosts several major events such as many events, like VidCon, Anime Expo, D23 expo or WonderCon.
For esports fans, this is the place where BlizzCon takes place and with it the StarCraft II World Championship Series Grand Finals – the most prestigious competition of the SC2 scene. If you’re an avid StarCraft fan, this is the place to be if you want to see soO, Serral, Classic or herO exchange blows for the WCS trophy. Future esports events at the Anaheim Convention Center include the DreamHack Open 2020, a CSGO tournament with a prize pool of $100,000.
Fun trivia: the venue was used as a filming location for Star Trek: Picard, the upcoming TV show and will make an appearance as a part of Star Trek’s Starfleet Headquarters. The show is planned for a January 2020 release.
The Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany is the place where each year, one of the largest CSGO tournaments in the world – the ESL One Cologne – takes place. Previously known as the Kölnarena, the Lanxess Arena in Cologne was opened to the public in 1998 and it has been, since then used primarily as a home by several sports teams and as a concert hall with many international superstars performing here.
The rise of esports gave the arena a new life and since 2014, the venue hosts the ESL One Cologne – one of the major Counter Strike GO tournaments of the year, part of the Intel Grand Slam series. The major tournament offers a consistent prize pool – $300,000 in 2019 – and gives local CSGO fans the opportunity to meet some of the best teams in the world. Natus Vincere, SK Gaming, BIG were among the teams that played in the arena on the Rhine river, SK Gaming winning here twice in 2016 and 2017.
The next ESL One will take place in July, 2020 and will offer a staggering $1 million US dollars as a prize pool.
Trivia Fact: With its capacity of 18,500 seats it is the largest ice hockey arena outside North America.
Sweden is one of the world’s leading countries in the fast-emerging world of esports, with the Landskrona-based Ninjas in Pyjamas and part-swedish Fnatic being two of the biggest esports organizations in the world. It was only natural that one of the top 10 esports arenas in the world to be found in Sweden, or the be exact in Malmö, the country’s third largest city.
Malmö Arena is a $85 million US dollars, 60 000 m² arena that opened its gates to visitors in 2008, in the expanding Öresund region which is also referred to as Greater Copenhagen. Since then it was home for Malmö Redhawks, the local hockey club and a concert hall for Rihana, Lady GaGa and Bob Dylan.
Esports’ rise in popularity among Swedish gamers and the rising influence of local team turned Malmo into the perfect destination for one of CSGO’s most influential tournaments series – the DreamHack Masters.
The esport events spread across the globe returned to Malmö almost every year since 2016, with its most recent iteration taking place here in October 2019. The tournament offered a $250,000 prize pool and offered local fans the chance to see one of the best finals of the year with Fnatic winning against Vitality 2 to 1 in the Grand Final.
Fun trivia: Malmö was the first city to ever host a DreamHack Masters event in 2016. Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas won the event defeating NAVI in the grand final and taking home $100,000.
Home for BLAST Pro Series and LCS tournaments, the Royal Arena in Copenhagen is one of the newest venues in our top list, opening its doors to the public just over two years ago. Built as a multipurpose indoor arena in one of the newest parts of the Danish capital, the Royal Arena has a capacity of up to 17,000 seated and standing guests for cultural and musical while sporting events, the capacity will be up to 12,500 spectators.
A Metallica concert in 2017 was the first ever event held in the arena and in 2018 the venue was chosen for the League of Legends’ EU LCS Spring Split, and Summer Split Finals. Part of the LoL Championship Series, the events represent the highest level of professional League of Legends play in Europe, with prize pools reaching up to $200,000.
The venue is also home for the annual BLAST PRO Series CSGO tournament. Organized by RFRSH Entertainment, the BLAST Pro Series events returned to Royal Arena every year, with the most recent tournament taking place here in November 2019. FaZE Clan, NiP, Astralis and Cloud 9 were among the invited teams, with FaZe taking home the win.
Home of the Intel Extreme Masters Sidney, the Qudos Bank Arena or the Sidney Super Dome as venue is also called, is one of the largest multipurpose arenas in the world and the largest in Australia.
Completed in 1999 for the 2000 Summer Olympics, the arena has a total capacity of 21,032 with a seating capacity of around 18,200. This venue has played host to a number of international superstars including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga or Metallica.
For CSGO fans, the arena hosts the annual IEM Sidney tournament, one of the major Counter-Strike GO events, part of the $ 1 million USD Inter Grand Slam series. The 2019 show was the third IEM taking place at the Qudos Bank Arena, and brought down-under teams such as Renegade, ViCI Gaming, NRG or eUnited.
Fun Trivia: The Qudos Bank Arena is ranked in the top 10 arenas worldwide and for three consecutive years was a finalist for the Billboard Touring Awards in the top venue category
The grandpa in our top 10 esports arenas list – the SEE Arena was built over 85 years ago. After extensive renovations the arena reopened its doors to the public in 2006 and today is one of the major esports venues in the UK. Located next to the famous Wembley Stadium, the 12,500seat SSE Arena is the second-largest arena in the UK after the O2.
The history of esports competitions in the arena started in 2014 when, for the first time, Riot used the venue for its LEC matches. One year later, LOL fans returned here for the League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals and in 2018 the 1 million USD FACEIT Major CSGO tournament that brought MIBR, complexity Gaming and HellRaisers in the UK capital. The CSGO major was won by Astralis, who managed to defeat NAVI in the finals and take home $500,000.
Fun trivia: The SSE Arena was initially known as The Empire Pool as it originally housed a swimming pool, last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics.
And there you have it! Our top 10 best esports arenas in the world and the venues where you have the biggest chances of meeting your favorite esports teams. With esports becoming increasingly popular as a physical events, more and more arenas around the world are becoming a home for CSGO, League of Legends or Dota 2 tournaments.