Esports have been big in Canada for a while now, and they just got even bigger with the opening of The Gaming Stadium (TGS), the country's first permanent esports arena for players, spectators and fans of games like Starcraft, Fortnite, Smash Bros. and Overwatch.
Step One: The Temporary Gaming Stadium
As the permanent home of TGS gets built, a temporary stadium is already in operation in Richmond, British Columbia, on the outskirts of Vancouver, in a former No. 3 Road auto dealership. Already a first-of-its-kind facility, this interim space opened on June 28, 2019, and provides a large stage, a concessions stand, a giant viewscreen to observe competitions and seating for 110 viewers.
The Genesis of TGS
Khouri says the inspiration for the arena came from his and his team's prior experience organizing esports tournaments around the Vancouver area and repeatedly running into challenges with inadequate infrastructure. Internet connections were slow and spotty, power was insufficient and unstable and seating and gaming stations were poor and sparse as well. TGS was first envisioned out of a need to provide the Canadian esports community a much-needed infrastructure on which to conduct its competitions fully and effectively.
Step Two: The Permanent Facility
Conveniently, the permanent TGS grounds sit right beside the temporary one. With support from Myesports Ventures Ltd., the completed, permanent TGS will seat up to 300 viewers, accommodate live streaming and commentators and offer at least 40 gaming stations. The new facility is expected to break ground at the beginning of 2020 and expected to open to players and fans by the start of the summer of 2021. Already the venture is being touted by industry authorities like the UBC Esports Association, which said in a statement that TGS would provide a much-needed bridge over a clear gap in the esports community.
Esports in Canada
Long before a permanent esports facility was even in the planning, esports itself was already a multi-million dollar industry in Canada. Already the country saw professional esports teams competing in various gaming leagues to win enormous cash prizes. Prizes for competitions to be held at TGS are expected to be in the range of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Along with safe and reputable sites such as ComeOn, a permanent facility is going to ensure that esports continues to thrive and deliver a wide range of esports options. Says TGS representative Spiro Khouri to CBC News, "We're giving the local community the opportunity to have a place to come...that you don't get when you're gaming at home."
TGS will be developed as a place not only for professional competitions but for amateur players to practice and hone their skills, with a fully-stocked casual gaming section. Competitions will be available for local players to compete for cash prizes alongside the big-league professional competitions. The space will be organized to promote community among players of all levels and ages as well as fans. There will even be coaching available for players wishing for guidance on further developing their skills. TGS is even developing special games and tournaments for amateur players, like Captain's Drafts, in which players sign up individually and are broken up into teams for on-the-spot tournament play.
Paramount among the priorities at TGS in both its current temporary and eventual permanent home, are issues of player and spectator safety. TGS will therefore operate under a strict zero tolerance policy for unsociable behaviors like bullying, rage and cheating.
In the meantime, and even after TGS opened, the best and safest place to hone your esports skills at home has been and will continue to be sites like ComeOn. One advantage Come On offers that even TGS as of yet does not offer is betting on esports. The only way to win money at TGS is to compete in competitions with cash prizes. On sites like Come On, you can both compete in and bet on various games as you see fit.