South Korean broadcast company OGN is constructing a 35,000-square-foot e-sports arena in Manhattan Beach, and selected game developer PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds Co. Ltd. (better known as PubG Co.) as its first league partner.
The site is the former Manhattan Beach Studios Inc. location, where OGN will "build out three floors into the modular arena and stage," in addition to a sound stage on the ground floor, stages on the second floor and office space. according to a spokesman for OGN.
OGN has a long-term lease on the space; roughly 10 years, according to a spokesman.
For the first time in Southern California, the e-sports arena will have the capacity to host completely live battle royale events, with each player sitting in the arena instead of broadcast via a live stream. In addition to the 100 seats for players (which are optional and can be switched for smaller matches), the arena is expected to hold 500 audience seats.
E-sports will generate $1.5 billion in revenue by 2020, according to financial auditing firm Deloitte and through investing roughly $100 million to construct the venue and host the inaugural events, OGN is trying to capitalize on that market, a spokesman said. The first National PubG League season is expected to commence January 2019, with teams competing for a prize pool of $1 million. In addition to the National PubG League, OGN plans to broadcast its OGN Super League and OGN Super Match competitions from the Manhattan Beach arena, featuring a rotation of popular gaming titles.
OGN was launched as a as a subsidiary of South Korean entertainment giant CJ E&M Corp. in 2000 and has produced over 500 league events in more than 250 countries since. The company reported in a statement that its e-sports and gaming content gather roughly 200 million live stream views per year, and that it creates upwards of 3,000 hours of e-sports content annually.
The North American arm of CJ E&M, CJ E&M America Inc., will oversee this project under guidance from its Chief Executive DJ Lee.
“The moment is right to bring our experience in e-sports to North America and present a business model that we see as win-win for everyone – from game publishers to brands,” Lee said, adding that “bringing the OGN playbook to this rapidly growing e-sports market will provide a robust opportunity to connect and engage with the next generations of gamers and fans.”
Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.