Fans rejoice at groundbreaking for new South Philadelphia esports arena

Justin Udo
September 25, 2019 - 5:56 pm
Philadelphia Fusion officials break ground on a new $50 million esports arena in South Philadelphia.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Wells Fargo Center is set to host this weekend's Overwatch League grand championship, but local esports fans are rejoicing over a new $50 million arena coming to South Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Fusion is the city's esports team that competes in the first-person shooter video game Overwatch. Now the squad that travels the globe competing in league tournaments is getting its own place to call home.

Flyers in-arena host Andrea Helfrich helped make the big announcement at the facility's Wednesday groundbreaking.

"This is the largest new construction purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere," said Helfrich, "and it's coming right here to the sports complex."

Related: $50M esports arena to join Sports Complex — the first of its kind

It may have only been a groundbreaking, but fans were still able to get an up-close look at the Fusion Arena, which will be nestled between Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

"They have the VR (virtual reality) set up, and they're letting everyone experience what it's going to look like. It's really cool, and it's something I haven't seen before," said Aidan, one of the fans in attendance. "It really is the most esports way to do this."

Mykayla, another fan who came out to the groundbreaking, said she was pumped for the 60,000-square-foot facility--with an 85-foot LED TV and USB-infused seats--that's set to open late next year.

"I really like Overwatch, and I like the Fusion," Mykayla said. "This is something really big for esports in general."

Fusion fan Selena said the new arena will be a testament to the popularity of esports. 

"It's kind of crazy in a sense because esports is getting bigger as the years go on," she said, "and we get to show off the Fusion."

Like a lot of other fans, she's pumped for it to open next year.

"The Philadelphia Fusion fans are really hyped in there," she added, "and I want to see that and experience that in our own home arena."

Developers say once the arena goes up, they're going to keep on building. One planned addition to the complex is an $80 million office building. The venue is also slated to host concerts and other events.