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5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype

5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype

A show is only as good as its stage and esports has had some especially great stages.

Esports has always embraced its spectacle and the venues that have hosted it have always facilitated that. From studios, stadiums, and the tried-and-tested convention halls, esports is all about drawing in and hyping up a crowd and here’s five of the biggest venues to do it.

Staples Center (now known as Crypto.com Arena)
5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype
Samsung Galaxy versus SK Telecom T1 at the 2016 World Championship grand finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo from LoL Esports Photos)

The early 2010’s was the era when esports was going through its major growth spurt. People were beginning to pay attention to it and one of the reasons was because of the number of viewers it was attracting. Livestreaming was also taking off in this era as well but then esports was also selling out stadiums. That’s when people knew there was something special here.

We first felt this when Riot Games held the 2013 League of Legends World Championship at the historic Staples Center. We got a glimpse of the potential of esports and just how big the scene can get. 

Climate Pledge Arena
5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype
The International 2023 at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington. (Photo from Dota 2 The International)

The Climate Pledge Arena should be familiar with Dota 2 fans as it’s essentially the home of The International. This venue held the biggest Dota 2 tournament for four consecutive years and bore witness to the best esport has to offer. Iconic moments like the six million dollar Echo Slam were born here and while The International has now become a globe-trotting event, fans will never forget its roots.

Mandalay Bay Arena
5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype
Evo 2023 at the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vagas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Paul)

Speaking of places that are home to big esports events, we can’t leave out Las Vegas, the home of Evo. For the longest time, Nevada has been the spot for the world’s biggest open bracket fighting game tournament. Evo started small but worked its way to bigger and brighter stages. They’ve been with the Mandalay Bay Arena the longest but the sky’s the limit for the prestigious fighting game tournament. 

Incheon Munhak Stadium
5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype
The 2018 World Championship grand finals opening ceremony at the Incheon Munhak Stadium in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo from LoL Esports Photos)

Riot have proven themselves to be quite the showrunners for League of Legends. When they finally decided to hold a World Championship in South Korea in 2018, they knew it had to be an event worthy of the strongest League of Legends region in the world.

It was here at the Worlds opening ceremony that K/DA, the global phenomenon, was born. By combining both a live performance and augmented reality, Worlds 2018 cemented itself as one of the biggest in history. It also served as a paradigm shift for Riot as they’ve set the standard of what a Worlds finals event is like.

The Kia Forum
5 Esports Venues That Really Brought the Hype
The Valorant Champions Los Angeles grand finals opening ceremony at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

Even though they’re new on the block, Valorant are already making waves in the esports scene. They’re not even four years old and they’re already blowing the roof off in venues like the Kia Forum. This was also Valorant’s first Champions event with a live crowd since they held their first two during the pandemic. Suffice to say, the hype was palpable within the arena and made it one of the best esports events of last year.

Banner photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games.


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