Feb 6 2014 - 2:35 pm

America's first dedicated esports arena to open this spring

A new sports arena is poised to open in downtown Santa Ana, Orange County, Calif
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

A new sports arena is poised to open in downtown Santa Ana, Orange County, Calif. this spring. The 13,500 square foot brick building, which also boasts a mezzanine area tallying 2,300 square feet, a stage measuring 1,000 square feet, and a capacity to host 1,000 people, will operate every day. 

And it will be used exclusively for esports events.

In a space previously occupied by “Ramona’s Banquet Hall” and a handful of small businesses, CEO Paul Ward and COO Tyler Endres hope to build the first of a “network” of facilities across North America “capable of producing national events on a daily basis.”

The arena, which Ward and Endres simply call the "eSports Arena," will follow in the footsteps of similar projects in South Korea, China, Ukraine, and Sweden.

Project planning began three years ago. The group first gained funding to substantively move forward in mid-2012.


Screengrab via eSports Arena/YouTube

“Our team is not independently wealthy so we had to go on the war path and sell esports to investors,” Ward told the Daily Dot. “While this process takes awhile it has served us well. Now we have big time people who believe in our business model and the industry.”

Ward declined to specify who the investors or staff behind the arena are, saying only that “selling esports to investors” was one of the project’s biggest hurdles. The other major obstacle was real estate in what they called an “all over the place” market.

The Santa Ana location, about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles, has provoked serious skepticism from around the Internet. Will there be enough traffic to keep a business like this afloat?

“Southern California is a great place for esports with a healthy grassroots foundation,” Ward countered.”The demographics are ideal as well as the surrounding infrastructure.”

To help explain the company's vision, Ward detailed the seven-days-a-week plan they have in mind:

“On some weekends we'll be hosting larger scale esports events, on weeknights we will be hosting leagues, qualifiers, launch events, broadcasts, and various entertainment events,” Ward said.

“During weekdays and portions of weeknights we will operate as a competitive gaming center similar to a LAN center, so someone can come in and play a game or join an impromptu tournament, for example.”

San Diego and Los Angeles are accessible by public transit and multiple major airports are within driving distance.

Ward declined to specify any particular events in the planning but did say they’d be adding “feeder, amateur, and collegiate type leagues and events” for major titles with established leagues.

“For underserved communities we can really bring them to the next level of consistent highly produced events,” he said. “For the new games that are looking for traction and exposure we can offer them the most cost effective method of making their title into a bona-fide esport.”

By the end of 2014, the company is planning to have three new arenas across the continent.

Screengrab via eSports Arena/YouTube

Jan 15 2017 - 10:59 pm

Staz bests Orange in WESG Hearthstone final

It's the first major win for an SEA player.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Screengrab via Starladder_HS_en/Twitch

At the first major Hearthstone event of 2017, Euneil “Staz” Javinaz bested European star Jon "Orange" Westberg to win his first title—and the first for his region.

Staz and Orange went the full seven games in the stunning final set, trading games back and forth before Staz eventually came out on top 4-3. The final game was a grinding affair, a Reno Mage mirror that played over close to an hour.

Representing the South East Asia region, Staz is the first player from that region to win a major title.

Staz reached the final after beating out a pair of Europeans—Orange's countryman Elliot "Fluffy" Karlsson and the impressive Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer—arguably having the toughest road through the bracket stage.

Orange's run was no easy feat either as he had to take out Sebastian "Xixo" Bentert, one of the most successful players of 2016 playing in his first tournament since joining Counter Logic Gaming.

The loss meant that Orange was unable to string together back to back major victories, after winning his second Seat Story Cup title in December.

For his victory Staz takes home a whopping $150,000, one of the largest prizes ever awarded in Hearthstone. For second place Orange will have to make do with $70,000.

Jan 15 2017 - 10:31 pm

Kinguin and Fnatic Academy secure spots in European Challenger Series

The two teams made short work of the opposition.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

Fnatic Academy and Team Kinguin qualified for the European League of Legends Challenger Series, taking themselves one step closer to the game's premier competition.

In rather emphatic fashion, the two teams completely decimated their opposition. Both teams were able to secure quick 3-0 victories, and will now be competing in the upcoming season of the EU CS league.

While both teams fell short of first place in the qualifiers group stage, the teams made up for it in spades in the tournament finals. The Polish Kinguin roster were the first team to qualify for the league, as the team completely decimated opponents on Nerv.

Despite featuring former EU CS players such as mid laner An "SuNo" Sun-ho, as well as support Christophe "je suis kaas" van Oudheusden, it seemed as if Nerv weren't able to find any opening against the Polish team.

The final series of the day saw Fnatic Academy, in equally as dominant fashion, defeat Team Forge.

The academy team's display in the three games was incredible impressive, in particular the performances of mid laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer and former FC Schalke AD carry Rasmus "MrRalleZ" Skinneholm, as both players only died once throughout the entire series.

With the qualifiers over, Kinguin and Fnatic Academy now join FC Schalke, Paris Saint-Germain, Millenium and Misfits Academy in the 2017 Spring Season of the EU CS.

The 2017 League of Legends season gets underway next week, when all regional leagues begin their spring seasons.