Spectators sat clapping, cheering on their favourite teams on the big screen in London over the weekend. No, it wasn't a soccer match, but a video gaming tournament with $50,000 up for grabs.
Held at the U.K.'s first permanent e-sports arena, fans came to watch live and over the internet teams of gamers battle it out in popular fantasy titles for the $50,000 prize money.
Traditionally, e-sports enthusiasts would watch on streaming websites such as Twitch – the most popular viewing platform that Amazon bought for $970 million last year. Major tournaments around the world, such as the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland, this month are held at physical venues, but only over the few days that the matches are played. But the Gfinity Arena, housed in a branch of one of Britain's biggest cinema chains in south-west London, could mark the start of a trend of a growing number of permanent e-sports viewing locations.
"We want to provide the Wembley of e-sports," Neville Upton, CEO of tournament organizer Gfinity, told CNBC, referring to one of the U.K.'s biggest sporting arenas.
"I think you're going to see some really big substantial, dedicated e-sports arenas in the future. If you look at the attendance, it's massive. People are already filling stadiums with forty fifty thousand spectators and that's just going to become more regular."