New $500M Esports venue planned for Toronto

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Headlines, Sports

Toronto has long been home to sports franchises and their massive headquarters but it will soon add to its roster a new flagship building for its Esports teams.

Overactive Media announced on Monday plans to build a nearly-$500 million entertainment complex at Exhibition Place that will serve as the home turf for its Esports franchises while simultaneously providing a space for concerts and other big events.

The futuristic-looking 7,000-seat venue — expected to open in 2025 and host more than 200 events a year — was billed by the company in a release as an “unparalleled experience” for fans and concert-goers.

It will be the home of Defiant, Toronto’s top-tier Overwatch squad and, perhaps most notably, will host Toronto Ultra, Canada’s only team in the international Call of Duty League.

“It has always been our intention to develop a venue and hosting strategy and to build a facility that could not only serve as an iconic home for our two franchises but ultimately emerge as a global hub for major international Esport events,” company president Chris Overholt said.

Overholt and his company plan to attract big-name talent and host large events with the highest level of esports.

The new “performance venue” won’t only be for the top-tier professionals, however. Hunter said it will also be a place accessible to the amateur scene.

“We see it from a professional and an amateur standpoint: a wonderful Esports venue for utilization,” Bob Hunter, vice president at Overactive Media, said, adding the space will have opportunities for college and university teams.

“That’s how you build your fanbase,” he told Humber Et Cetera.

For amateurs like Marcus Macapinlac of Humber College’s competitive Call of Duty team, Overactive Media’s plan points to a growth of the Esports scene.

“I think it’s a great investment,” Macapinlac told Et Cetera. “Esports is growing more and more every single year, and it’s not just something that’s seen as a hobby anymore.”

Macapinlac, who balances schoolwork while playing as “Macka” on Humber’s Gold Call of Duty team, said if post-secondary amateur teams are able to compete in-person at the new venue, it would be huge for career-building.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to become a professional college player ever since I was a lot younger,” he said. “I’m definitely going to be pushing myself a lot and hopefully in the near future, you guys can be seeing my name up on the mainstage in the CDL.”