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ESL Sports Arena Bringing Competitive Gaming Spectacle To E3 2018

As E3 seeks to diversify its experience and cater to today's tastes, the video game industry trade show is looking to esports to help. With the aid of the ESL, E3 2018 will feature an esports event.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 has been changing drastically to keep up hype and attendence and cater to gaming fans over the last couple years. At E3 2017, North America's largest consumer electronics show was opened up to the general public for the first time. This year, they aim to bring esports into the equation. At E3 2018, with the help of major esports company ESL, there will be esports events within the newly ESL Sports Arena.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) sent out this news in a press release on May 1, 2018. The ESL Sports Arena stage will be a new addition to E3, taking place June 12, 2018 to June 14, 2018. The stage will be located in the Los Angles Convention Center South Hall, featuring 7,500 feet dedicated to delivering a high-quality esports experience for players, casters, and attendees.

The production values of the ESL have been notable in the past, such as the Arena at PAX Australia in 2015. With the help of the ESA, the spectacle at E3 2018 promises to be pretty extraordinary.
The production values of the ESL have been notable in the past, such as the Arena at PAX Australia in 2015. With the help of the ESA, the spectacle at E3 2018 promises to be pretty extraordinary. [Photo by VIM Media & Events]

ESA CEO Michael Gallagher spoke to the decision, claiming that the rise of esports is something the ESA and E3 simply can't ignore.

"Competitive video games are taking sports entertainment by storm, with the global esports audience reaching 335 million people in 2017," Gallagher explained. "With the addition of the E3 ESL Arena, E3 2018 is set to be a non-stop, edge-of-your-seat ride of video game announcements, demos, and competition."

The feeling is mutual on the ESL side of the equation. ESL North America CEO Yvette Martinez-Rea looked the new partnership as an opportunity to bring a a solid show of competition to a new audience.

"Together with ESA, the E3 ESL Arena will expose traditional game enthusiasts to high-quality, professionally produced competitions that create the ultimate esports experience," Martinez-Rea claimed.

Indeed, E3 seems to be hardset on the path to modernize and expand its traditionally press-only event into an even greater public spectacle. While many members of the industry may disagree with some of the overcrowding that comes of bringing in a general audience, the attendance numbers don't really lie. According to an ESA press release following E3 2017, the ESA claimed that around 68,400 attended the show, with 15,000 of that being sold public passes. This was around 18,000 up from E3 2016, which had 50,300 people attending.

It would appear that while it may be inconvenient for some, the ESA will be continuing to expand into a public spectacle. If such is the case, it's only natural that the exponentially growing market of esports is going to be along for the ride. As of the time of this writing, no particular games or events have been announced for the ESL Sports Arena yet. Be sure to follow E3 and the ESL on Twitter to get the latest news on both.

The ESA and ESL are the only big team-ups happening in esports right now. The Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons has just invested in REKTGlobal to take part ownership of the Rogue esports organization.

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