Photos: Esports hits the Mall of America with Wisdom Gaming hub
The booming esports industry now has an in-person presence at the Mall of America.
Driving the news: Wisdom Gaming's new 18,000-square-foot broadcast studio and gaming lounge opened on the mall's fourth level over the weekend.
Why it matters: The opening gives the esports company — which includes leagues, teams and merch — prime real estate at one of the country's biggest and most prominent shopping and entertainment destinations.
Events have the potential to expand the mall's reach to attract more fans from the $1 billion global esports industry.
- An estimated 8,000 fans showed up for a weekend-long championship for Riot Games' popular "League of Legends: Wild Rift" in the mall's rotunda earlier this year, the company says.
What to expect: The tw0-story venue includes a retail space, a studio that can house a live audience, booths players can use to livestream and a lounge to serve food and drinks.
- It'll also serve as a home base for Torrent, Wisdom's professional esports organization, and the high-school level Minnesota Varsity League.
Between the lines: While the space could make the mall an in-person destination for gamers, streamers and fans, it will also serve as a production studio for streaming tournaments and play-by-play-style commentary via Twitch and other platforms.
- Current features include a full set for commentators, a green screen and two control rooms stacked with what Wisdom Gaming senior vice president Jaycie Gluck described to Axios as "state of the art, top-of-the-line equipment."
State of play: The Wisdom Gaming Studios launch is the latest example of esports gaining fans and visibility, including here in the Twin Cities.
- Other local gaming teams are backed by the owners of the Timberwolves, Loons and Vikings and Wisdom is partnering with the Twins to host pop-up "gaming dugouts" at Target Field this summer.
Our thought bubble: Esports organizers are perpetually trying to prove that their field can be as mainstream as traditional sports, Axios Gaming author Stephen Totilo writes.
- Establishing an esports space in America's biggest mall is another attempt to reach that destination, if not yet proof that they've arrived.
Situational awareness: The venue's location on MOA's top floor puts it with other entertainment attractions perched above the stores and amusement park below, including a movie theater, a comedy club and a food hall featuring axe throwing and go-karts.
What's next: The venue will host an 80's-themed competition involving the game "Gold Rush" in front of a live audience in late August.
Go deeper: Check out more photos via the Axios Twin Cities Instagram.
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