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Esports arena opens in Busan, first outside greater Seoul

Main areana at Busan Esports Arena (Busan Metropolitan City)
Main areana at Busan Esports Arena (Busan Metropolitan City)

Busan Esports Arena will officially open Wednesday, Busan Metropolitan City and Busan IT Industry Promotion Agency announced Tuesday.

The esports arena to open in Busan on the 15th and 16th floors of Samjung Tower is the first arena dedicated to esports to open outside the capital area. This is the first of the three esports arenas supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to open following the government decision to promote esports outside of Seoul in 2018. The other two arenas under construction, located in Daejeon and Gwangju, are expected to open by early next year.

“Busan is the city that made G-Star into a global game exhibition, and Busan is an indie game mecca where developers can work in a good environment. It is also a leading esports city, hosting 100,000 audiences in Gwangalli Beach,” said Byun Seong-wan, the acting Busan mayor. “Through its superb location, diverse space configuration and experience hosting esports, we will make the esports arena a successful case that can help South Korea lead the world in global esports industry.”

The arena consists of a main arena, two sub-arenas and facilities for players, staff and viewers. The main arena, which has a total of 330 seats, is equipped with 30 sports bar-type pub seats and eight premium VIP suite box seats for enhanced viewing experience.

While the Culture Ministry and the city of Busan each invested 3 billion won ($2.7 million) in the Busan Esports Arena, National Assembly member Lee Sang-heon in October raised concerns about insufficient funding resulting in poor facilities. The Seoul OGN e-Stadium that opened in 2016 with 950 seats was constructed with funding of 43.5 billion won, of which 10 billion was used for the broadcast sound system alone.

However, an official at BIPA told The Korea Herald that through sponsorship of broadcast equipment and discussions with experts, they have managed to set up a broadcast system that can stream in 4K definition, despite the smaller budget.

The Busan Esports Arena will kick off with 2020 Korea Game Awards on Wednesday.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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