Business & Economy

New Mall of America venue aims to make Minnesota the Midwest hub for esports

A giant glass star stands outside the new entrance
An esports venue comes to the Mall of America in early 2022.
Tim Nelson | MPR News 2015

Wisdom Gaming, a Minnesota-based esports production company, and Mall of America announced a partnership Thursday that includes plans to debut an 18,000-square-foot broadcast studio and esports venue. 

The partnership says it aims to make the Twin Cities a hub for the multibillion-dollar esports and gaming industry. By setting up its headquarters at the Mall of America, which attracts more than 40 million visitors yearly, Wisdom Gaming says it is trying to accelerate efforts to bring live and virtual gaming events to Minnesota. 

“We've heard from the community, time and time again, that they want other places to go other than the coasts. There is a huge community here already of avid fans,” said Nicole Du Cane, vice president of sales at Wisdom Gaming. “We already have a huge population of gamers and a community here that is just waiting for events to fall in their lap.”

The split-level esports venue will include a gaming lounge with food and beverage, seating for a live studio audience and a retail shop. Promoters say events would range from intimate watch parties to large-scale marquee events in the TCF Rotunda. 

The Mall of America will also serve as the home base for Wisdom’s Minnesota Varsity league, which focuses on high school esports and Torrent, Wisdom’s professional esports teams. 

Global games and the livestreaming audience are predicted to reach more than 923 million by 2024 with esports fans making up one-third of that audience, according to Newzoo, a gaming and esports market research company. 

“Tapping into the esports landscape has been something we’ve had on our radar for a long time,” said Jill Resnlow, executive vice president of business development for the Mall of America. The partnership with Wisdom Gaming will help establish the mall as “the premiere esports destination hub for guests and global esports fans alike,” she said.