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June 26, 2017

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E-sports enthusiasts get boost with Neonopolis arena

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Steve Marcus

A view of the 200-seat arena during a tour of the Millennial E-Sports facilty under construction at the Neonopolis Mall in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.

Milllennial Esports Facility

Nick Fotheringham speaks outside the Millennial E-Sports facility under construction at the Neonopolis Mall in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Launch slideshow »

Gamers are about to get the major league treatment with the addition of a state-of-the-art facility downtown aimed at showcasing the best in the e-sports world.

Millennial Esports in Neonopolis is set to open a 15,000-square-foot e-sports arena on March 3 with a three-day Halo tournament.

“As soon as I got into this (e-sports) industry, I knew I wanted to be in Las Vegas and specifically in downtown Las Vegas,” said Alex Igelman, chief executive officer of Toronto-based Millennial Esports. “The demographic and everything about downtown fits perfectly with esports — you know the millennials.”

Igelman, a lawyer by trade, has a long history in Las Vegas. Before embarking into e-sports, he worked with the city to help collect gambling debts for Canadians who owed casinos money.

WIth his knowledge of Las Vegas cemented, Igelman explained that the facility is perfect fit for downtown, rich with his target demographic and amenities already in place.

“Even just within this facility, there’s food establishments, beverage establishments, an arcade. They can even get married right here at Neonopolis in two places.” he said. “You’ve got pretty much everything you need. The Fremont Experience is next door with thousands of hotel rooms within a 30-second walk.”

The facility features a 200-seat arena with stadium-style seating and a main room for up to 500 people with a stage, a green room and a VIP room. The main room can accommodate a variety of activities, including live streaming for participants with an online following.

The building is wired with more than 3 miles of CAT cable, with dozens of ports offering one-gigabit internet speeds..Audio and visual components include an LED video wall with theater lighting and sound, plus cinema projectors in the arena. The facility also has a concession stand and a merchandise area where fans can purchase tough-to-find video game-related items.

A permanent studio above the 200-seat main arena can host ESPN-style broadcasts on various websites.

“Imagine SportsCenter or College GameDay on Saturday,” said Nick Fotheringham, senior consultant on the project. “The analyst desk is open to five people just like College Gameday with the stage, the big LED wall and the players hitting in that area. That’s just magic.”

The studio features a dedicated technical crew, with the broadcasters changing with each event.

Millennial Esports is also developing an app to work with the events it’ss lated to host, aimed at making the players’ experience as seamless as possible.

“We’re developing this tournament app that will make it a lot easier to register,” Igelman said. “It also tells when you are scheduled to play and at what station, among a variety of things.”

The Halo event will feature a $50,000 prize pool and is the last qualifier event before this spring’s Halo World Championship Finals,, which features a $1million prize pool. The top six teams from the Las Vegas event automatically qualify for the world finals.

The next event scheduled at Millennial Esports Arena is an EA Sports-sanctioned Madden 17 NFL tournament March 25-26, with other tournaments in the works.

“We’re building a complete content calendar, and we’re in talks with various publishers that have heard about us and what we’re doing that are looking to utilize our technologies,” Igelman said. “We should have multiple events throughout the year, including ones that we put on ourselves, and invitationals.”

Aside from the scheduled events, Igelman plans to have the facility available to anyone who wants to play video games or use its high-speed internet.

“Whether it’s PS4 or Xbox or PC, you’re going to be in a really cool environment,” he said. “ If you’re in town for an event and you’re a YouTuber and you want a good place to stream and don’t want to do it from a hotel room where the internet is iffy, you can go into one of those alcoves and broadcast to your fans.”

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