Millennial Esports Esports announces Friday opening of Las Vegas esports arena

James Robbins works on the interior of Millennial Esports' esports arena in Las Vegas. The 15,000-square foot, 200-seat structure is opening Friday, the company announced Saturday. It will host the Halo World Championships for 2017 that begin that day. AP Photo/John Locher

Event organizer Millennial Esports will open a new esports arena in Las Vegas on Friday, and the first event in the space will be a 2017 Halo World Championship qualifier on that same day, the company announced Saturday.

The 15,000-square foot, 200-seat arena is being completed in the Neonopolis entertainment complex in downtown Vegas. It will house a warm-up area for players and staff, a VIP room and a large studio near the main arena intended to be used for analysis desks.

The story was originally reported by the Las Vegas Sun and the Associated Press.

"As soon as I got into this industry, I knew I wanted to be in Las Vegas and specifically in downtown Las Vegas," Millennial Esports CEO Alex Igelman told the Sun. "The demographic and everything about downtown fits perfectly with esports."

The Halo World Championship features 12 teams and a $1 million prize pool, and the weekend LAN tournament is the second qualifier for North American teams.

The arena will also host an official Madden NFL 17 esports event later in March.

Esports interest in Las Vegas has grown tremendously during the past few years. Originally the home of the Evolution Championship Series, a yearly fighting game event that took over the Mandalay Bay Events Center in 2016, the city has seen events from League of Legends developer Riot Games and most recently DreamHack, which brought the first Counter-Strike tournament to Vegas.

There's been betting interest, as well. Bookmaker William Hill opened Las Vegas sportsbook betting on Intel Extreme Masters Oakland in November and took bets on DreamHack Masters Las Vegas in mid-February.

"Las Vegas needs to consistently reinvent itself to remain relevant to the up-and-coming generation," Millennial Esports board member Seth Schorr told the Associated Press. "We've always come up with ways to maintain our position as the entertainment capital of the world."