A rendering of Esports Arena Las Vegas, scheduled to open Thursday in 30,000 square feet at Luxor Las Vegas. (Courtesy Allied Esports)
Allied Esports hopes what was once a Las Vegas nightclub can turn into a daily attraction as the first esports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Allied opens Esports Arena Las Vegas on Thursday, turning 30,000 square feet at Luxor Las Vegas into a 1,500-person capacity esports arena designed to attract gamers throughout the week.
“We were looking for a flagship location, a championship destination,” Allied CEO Jud Hannigan said. “It had to inspire people around the world and the location had to drive people into our other locations with the chance to compete on the big stage. Las Vegas generates that type of emotion.”
Allied, which has partnered with MGM Resorts, turned the former nightclub at the Luxor into a space that’s game-agnostic and puts a focus on programming flexibility to draw differing gaming communities throughout the week. Hannigan says Allied will work with the space, designed by Las Vegas firm YWS Design & Architecture, to bring in a fresh crowd each day that leads toward larger events on the weekends with heftier prize pools.
Allied plans to keep Esports Arena Las Vegas open daily, scheduling events during the day and at night and offering rentals to groups, in addition to welcoming walk-ins looking to drop in off the Strip and play. With a front lobby designed to give a mini-experience to the passer-by, Allied hopes to draw new fans into the main competition hall. The 50-foot LED video wall and telescopic seating allow for immediate flexibility.
“Having multiple spaces (within the venue) allows the experience to be a bit broader to start, a bit more welcoming and educate people along the way with different experiences room to room until ultimately they lead into the destination, the competition area,” Hannigan said.
The arena is situated between the Mandalay Bay and Excalibur resorts, guaranteeing healthy foot traffic. Allied plans a combination bar and arcade with classic favorites to entice passers-by, and Jose Andres food and beverage offerings will provide another attraction.
Allied operates two smaller arenas in China — in Beijing and Shenzhen—one in Orange County, one in Oakland and an event studio with production facilities and a mobile truck in Europe. But Vegas offers an arena about twice the size of anything else Allied operates.
“This is only a catalyst for more to come,” Hannigan said. “We are building a market-based ecosystem that esports has not had. Our aim is to keep going on a global scale.”
As Allied opens in Vegas, the rise of esports is seen most prominently throughout North America and Asia. The NBA 2K League has NBA teams sponsoring esports teams and turning parts of NBA-sized arenas into esports homes. Announcements of coming esports venues, such as the Populous-designed 1,000-capacity, $10 million Esports Arena Arlington planned for a fall opening, continue to push the esports venue discussion.
Hannigan says that while a larger stadium may host an event from time to time, the sweet spot for Allied comes in their size and ability to generate content and events daily. “Even with 100 or 200 people, the facility is still going to generate a feeling of excitement and not a feeling of emptiness,” he said. The MGM partnership will also help promote the space through MGM’s marketing and allow Allied the opportunity to move to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Park Theater Monte Carlo or even T-Mobile Arena, if needed. “There are options for scalability in the MGM network,” he said.