Drive-In Esports Arenas Being Developed in Four U.S. Cities

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A view of 'League of Legends' in an esports arena

Initially, the venues will be located in in Louisville, Ky, Gettysburg, Pa and El Paso and Laredo in Texas.

Drive-in esports arenas may soon be the latest attraction. 

Real estate investment company Horizon Group Properties has partnered with esports analytics company Harena Data L.L.C., which operates the brand USA Drive-Ins, to develop esports arenas and drive-in movie theaters in four major U.S. cities.

On the esports side, the idea is for consumers to watch tournaments and compete in events from the safety of their vehicles. Initially, the arenas will be located in Horizon-owned malls in Louisville, Kentucky, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and El Paso and Laredo in Texas.

"Horizon is committed to innovation, to its retailers, and to the communities we serve,” said James Harris, managing director at the Illinois-based Horizon. "These drive-ins are a new and updated, albeit retro, component of centers, that give shoppers added reason to visit their local retailers and are a fun entertainment offering to the community. To top it off we know this exciting attraction will have safety as a priority."

Since gaining worldwide prominence with heightened visibility of major league teams, tournaments and players, such as Fortnite World Cup winner Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf, the esports industry has seen rapid growth and revenue with top athletes earning up to $15,000 an hour broadcasting their games — Dota 2, League of Legends and more to millions of viewers.

In 2019, Goldman Sachs estimated that esports and online game streaming viewership will reach 300 million people by the year 2022, which would surpass the audience of Major League Baseball. 

"We’re confident in our ability to orchestrate large-scale tournaments with Horizon to bring the joy and thrill of drive-in experiences back to communities," said Harena Data chief strategy officer Bill Dever. "Our world today has a changing level of interaction and communication, which we believe can be used to create incredible esports events and encourage Americans to work together in new ways."