Never seen an eSports arena? Here’s an inside look

by | Jun 29, 2016, 3:45PM PDT

This past weekend Team CLG, Counter Logic Gaming, was kind enough to give UCI eSports a few tickets to the LCS Summer Split. I was lucky enough to receive a ticket and was very excited to go! This being my first time at an arena,  I thought I’d share my experience with those of you who may be unfamiliar with eSport events.

The eSports arena entrance at Riot’s LCS Studio in Santa Monica

The eSports arena entrance at Riot’s LCS Studio in Santa Monica

Upon arriving, security did a quick scan on me and then I received my wristband to be allowed inside. Before going in, I was fascinated by the banner that showed all the teams that would play for the day. It really boosted my excitement.

As soon as I got inside my adrenaline started to rise. The way the environment is constructed put me in a competitive spirit as I continueddown the halls towards the stadium where the matches were taking place.

The halls leading to the stadium are filled with pictures of past eSport events

Once I got in the stadium, the first thing I noticed were the shoutcasters and how crisp the audio quality was. Then I saw the big screen. The team flags. The audience. Everything felt electrifying. The lighting of the stage and the energy of the crowd blended perfectly together and chills were running down my spine.

Now, what to expect during an eSports match? Well…lots of cheering that’s for sure. Whether someone makes a good individual play or both teams get into a critical team fight, the crowd shows their excitement. Many fans came out to support their favorite teams or just a player they like. What surprised me the most was how broad the age range was amongst the audience.

Fans support favorite players by wearing a shirt with their player’s face on it

Throughout the matches, I was cheering, clapping, smiling. Pretty much what everyone else was doing. It is quite common for everyone to think that those who love games and the gaming culture are very introverted and antisocial people, but this event proved quite the opposite. Gaming can be a very social thing and many gamers love the experience of watching these kind of matches.

A group of friends wear the hat worn by one of the playable characters in the League of Legends game

Teams played one another in a best of three series. Once one team was declared a winner, members of the audience formed a high-five line in front of the stage as the winning team passed by.

High fives!

In between matches there was a 15 minute break. Most of the audience rushed over to the food stand (which is what I did) or to went to the gift shop (which is also what I did). The gift shop had items ranging from plushies and shirts to posters and figurines.

Some plushies of in-game creatures

After the matches, teams stuck around for a short time to meet and greet the fans. Once the event came to a close, everyone exited the arena and slowly started leaving the parking structure.

Overall, I had a great time going to the eSports arena to see this event live. It was a completely different experience than watching the streamed game at home. I think the arena does a great job of capturing a vibe that makes you feel more connected to the game and the players. Whether you are a competitive player yourself or someone who is just interested in watching, the eSports arena has something to offer everyone and I am very excited to attend future events to see how the experience changes and grows.