YouTube Theater ready for esports
SoFi Stadium was built to be the epicenter of the football world. Beginning this weekend, the YouTube Theater, which rests under SoFi Stadium's roof, wants to be the epicenter of the esports world.
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1. When SoFi Stadium was being built, the 70,000-seat, $5 billion stadium was viewed as the epicenter of the football world. It would be the home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers as well as multiple Super Bowls for years to come. Underneath the roof that covers football’s most expensive stadium is the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater, which was built to host concerts but also become the epicenter of the esports world.
The first-ever esports event at the YouTube Theater will finally take place this weekend when the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Winter Major takes place at the sold-out venue. It is the first fan-attended live event for Rocket League since the World Championship in 2019.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment owns three esports teams – The Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League, the Los Angeles Guerrillas of the Call of Duty League and The Guard, which competes in Valorant.
The hope is to one day make YouTube Theater the home of the Gladiators, Guerrillas and The Guard just like SoFi Stadium is the home of the Rams and Chargers.
“Stan Kroenke had envisioned creating a global stage for sports and entertainment and esports was right in the middle of that,” said Adolfo Romero, vice president of programming and booking, YouTube Theater and Hollywood Park. “We have three esports teams in three different leagues so we’re excited to host our first esports event.
“The YouTube Theater was built with esports in mind from the very beginning. It was esports and music but esports was a big part of the conversation from the start. We needed to bring esports competitions to YouTube Theater because this is the capital of esports. All the major leagues are here and all the major players are here. We're super excited to be able to have our first event and I know the fans are excited too. It sold out within hours.”
2. As bad as this season has been for the Lakers, I have been able to separate the collective train wreck on the court most nights and the historic season LeBron James has put together. Sure, the Lakers are 31-41 but James in his 19th season and at 37 years old is leading the NBA in scoring, averaging 30 points per game. That’s the most he has averaged in a season since he was 23 years old in Cleveland. Against the Cavaliers on Monday, James posted 38 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, becoming just the sixth player to have at least three triple doubles against his former team. The Lakers have actually won two of their last three games and during that stretch James is averaging 37.3 points, 9.7 assists and 8.3 assists. Incredible.
3. There was arguably a need for the NBA Play-In Tournament two years ago when the pandemic shut down the season after just 63-67 games while teams were still vying for playoff positioning. There may have even been a need last season after a short 72-day offseason and a truncated 72-game schedule but there’s no need to have it now. After a full 82-game regular season, we know which teams are the top eight in each conference. If the season ended today, the 42-31 Minnesota Timberwolves would have to play the 36-38 Clippers in the 7-8 match-up and the 31-41 Lakers would play the 30-42 New Orleans Pelicans in the 9-10 matchup. If the Clippers and Lakers won, the Wolves would play the Lakers in a win-or-go home game. If the Lakers won, a team that is 10 games below .500 would go to the playoffs over a team that is 11 games above .500. How does that make any sense?
4. The legend of Shohei Ohtani continued to grow this week as Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to what is being called the “Shohei Ohtani Rule,” which will allow the starting pitcher to remain in the lineup as the designated hitter even after he is pulled from his start. The new rule, which will be officially ratified next week, will allow Ohtani’s bat to stay in the Angels’ lineup longer. The rule really only applies to Ohtani, who became the first two-way player in MLB history to be an All-Star starter as both a hitter and a pitcher.
5. Warren Moon will be honored at Hamilton High School with a mural unveiling on Thursday. The hall of fame quarterback was born and raised in Los Angeles and went to Hamilton High, leading the Yankees to a league championship, before playing one season at West Los Angeles College in 1974 and later transferring to Washington. Moon became the first Black quarterback and first undrafted quarterback to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
6. On this day in 1968, UCLA beat North Carolina, 78-55, to win the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. The two storied programs will play each other Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia. Overall, UCLA has won a record 11 national championships and played in 19 Final Fours while North Carolina has won 7 national championships and played in a record 20 Final Fours.
7. Here are some odds if you’re thinking about placing a wager today brought to you by Circa Sports.
8. Here’s the local pro sports schedule for today brought to you by Yaamava’.
7:00 p.m. Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers – Spectrum SportsNet
7:00 p.m. Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – TNT
9. Here are the “get in” price for a ticket on TickPick if you want to go to a game today.
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers – $120
Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – $25
10. On Tuesday’s The Arash Markazi Show, we talked about LeBron James’ incredible season and if the Lakers still have a chance with James and a healthy Anthony Davis.
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