Helix eSports Gaming Center (copy)

Gamers compete at a Helix eSports center.

What’s being billed as the first gaming center to be located next to a major professional sporting venue is opening in Patriot Place, just outside Gillette Stadium.

Helix eSports gaming center will be located where Showcase Live had been, next to Showcase Cinema de Lux.

Set to open in January, it will feature gaming stations for social, school, competitive and casual game play seven days a week for all skill levels, according to an news release from Helix and The Kraft Group, owners of Patriot Place.

The business is arriving amid the growing popularity of competitive electronic sports, or esports, in which players battle each other on video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.

The 18,000-square-foot business will also feature a practice facility for players with the Boston Uprising, a professional esports team owned by the Krafts that competes in Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League.

The center’s opening will coincide with the start of the Boston Uprising’s season, as the team prepares for its first year playing from its home market.

“With the Uprising’s move to Boston, we wanted to provide the team with a first-class practice facility and give our fans unprecedented access to their home team,” said Jen Ferron, chief marketing officer for Kraft Sports + Entertainment. “This new partnership with Helix eSports will accomplish both of these goals by providing our fans with access to our team and players through onsite events and appearances, while allowing the Uprising to practice from a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Patriot Place.”

Helix will offer over 100 gaming stations complete with PCs, gaming and network infrastructure and over 30 consoles. It has also partnered with SaberVR to offer patrons immersive virtual reality games and experiences spanning hundreds of game titles and genres. Educational programs will also be available onsite to enable the next generation of virtual reality architects and developers, the release said.

Helix said it will emphasize reaching students by offering school and recreational leagues as well as STEM, esports and vocational education opportunities. There will be a wide array of educational programs, camps and workshops for students in middle and high school, as well as a curriculum for esports industry certification, the company said.

Competitions will partner with the Uprising, ggCircuit, Super League Gaming, Team Genji, game publishers and third party event organizers to feature a variety of esports tournaments offering cash prizes and entrance to higher-tier competitions.

The business will also offer food, beverage and private rooms.

Helix eSports owns and operates the largest gaming centers in the United States.

Showcase Live featured live bands for about five years before it focused on cover bands. It hosted private functions in recent years.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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