By Jason Parker
January 16, 2020
We’re always interested in new places to view and participate in esports, and it sounds like Allied Esports is making some serious moves. The first dedicated esports venture between Simon Properties and Allied Esports will be at the Mall of Georgia in Buford.
Last summer, plans for esports venues at Simon malls were revealed. Until now, we had no idea where any of the location. The Mall of Georgia’s Village area will be the very first, thanks to this team-up.
The esports community is swelling in massive ways, and malls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’ve been to malls that have theaters either in the building or on the property. So why not add an esports option? The Southeast United States is getting really into esports.
Allied Esports picking the Mall of Georgia is a pretty smart move too. Georgia has a burgeoning esports scene, especially considering some major teams are located there. Atlanta FaZe is a prime example of local major squads.
This will be a 13,000 square-foot venue, using existing retail space at the mall. The renovation process will begin in the spring with the grand opening expected later this year.
Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports, spoke about this move in a recent statement:
Frankly, we’re excited about it too. It’s not too hard for me as an example to travel down to Georgia. Either I fly an hour to Atlanta, or I drive from North Carolina to Georgia. It’s not too hard, frankly. These venues will have both PCs and consoles for daily use, and of course, food and beverage options.
There’s also discussion of “experiential retail,” as well as broadcast and streaming production capabilities. I can only assume that means team merchandise for various events. That seems logical because Allied Esports plan to hold both amateur and professional esports tournaments at these venues.
Multiple esports are also on the docket, so it probably won’t be just CoD and/or Overwatch. As part of the agreement reached by Simon Properties and Allied Esports last June, the two companies will co-produce a national amateur esports tournament that will be called the Simon Cup.
The tournament will include online competitions and events at esports venues located in Simon malls.
Mall General Manager John DiCoccio also made a statement:
Having these esports venues at malls is, frankly, a fantastic idea. For one, the rent is probably much cheaper than owning a giant stadium. Plus, malls never have an off-season. People will go every single day, unless a major holiday.
Also, consider the potential for cross-pollination and new fans. A lot of random foot traffic can stumble upon this place on a day-to-day basis. It could be found by kids who want to game but can’t afford awesome systems at home, or a place for kids while their parents/grandparents go shopping.
The image of the mall as a must-go destination seems to be falling off, in my opinion. It is a great way to rejuvenate the idea of a mall being a must-stop. I can see malls wanting to play ball and be hosts to esports. If more teens and young adults are coming to the mall to check out esports tournaments, they could easily find themselves going to other stores at the mall itself. It’s super smart.
There are 108 Simon Property malls across the United States. If this first mall is successful, it could be a massive move for esports. Sure, watching esports in the comfort of your home is excellent. But it is a whole different experience with dozens or hundreds of people screaming their lungs out for their favorite (or new favorite) teams!
I know I’d go to my local mall more often. If I could go to the mall for more than picking up Manga volumes, wrestling t-shirts and lunch, I’d make the 20-minute drive way more often. Especially if I could go check out some awesome esports action there too.