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February 24, 2021

Overactive Media to build esports and entertainment venue in Toronto

OverActive Media has confirmed details of their highly-anticipated performance venue, projected to be completed in 2025. The near $500 million project which includes a theatre-style entertainment venue and hotel complex will be the first new sports or entertainment venue built in Toronto since BMO Field in 2007 and promises to be an unparalleled experience for fans and performance artists alike.

Located in the heart of the historic Exhibition Place, the facility plan is a strategic extension of the master plan for the region previously established by city officials. Positioned on four acres on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd., and across from the Ontario Place lands, the venue is expected to become the epicentre for what is starting to emerge as Toronto’s future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment. This privately financed, purpose-built venue, will offer premiere music artists and entertainment acts of the world a new place to call home in Toronto, now the fourth largest city in North America.

“Today is another important step in the evolution of OverActive Media. We are building a world leading, 21st century sports media and entertainment company and this best-in-class performance venue will be the chosen home for a new generation of fans that think differently about their entertainment choices and experiences,” said Chris Overholt, OverActive’s President and CEO.

The facility plans to host 200+ events a year, driven primarily by premium music and entertainment bookings. It will also serve to attract major city-wide conventions, corporate events and product launches, awards shows and naturally, a full slate of esports events increasing over time. OverActive Media is the owner of four major global esport franchises, including Toronto’s two professional teams (Toronto Ultra of the Call of Duty League and Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League). While this venue will be home for its two teams, their vision is to also elevate Toronto and Canada as a destination of choice for the global industry of gaming and esports.

“It has always been our intention to develop a venue and hosting strategy and to build a facility that could not only serve as an iconic home for our two franchises, but ultimately emerge as a global hub for major international esport events. We are already in active discussions to attract some of the biggest esport events in the world. This venue will redefine Toronto’s event hosting opportunities in every way,” added Overholt.

Conceived by world-renowned design firm Populous, the building composition delivers an iconic architectural presence along the Toronto waterfront and reflects a modern expression of a new age theatre for sports and entertainment.

“The design of the theatre was neither conceived as a sports arena nor an opera house, rather, a new typology that straddles the two – a state-of-the-art performance venue. The theatre architecture creates a merger of the old and the new,” said Jonathan Mallie, Senior Principal and lead designer for Populous. “The old channeling the rhythmic repetition of historic landmark theatres, and the new, integrating the progressive forms of avant-garde twenty-first-century design. In combination, a symbiotic balance delivers a one-of-a-kind theatre architecture, unique to Toronto and the world.”

“Our vision on this project from day one has been to combine a premium concert and live events program with world leading technology and best in class hospitality. We will create an unparalleled experience for our fans while being a low net cost producer to our entertainment partners and artists. A landmark experience and venue for a world class city that defines a new future,” Overholt added.

ABOUT Populous

Populous is a global design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 38 years, the firm has designed more than 3,000 projects worth $40 billion across emerging and established markets. Populous’ comprehensive services include architecture, interior design, event planning and overlay, branded environments, wayfinding and graphics, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, aviation and transport design, hotels and hospitality, and sustainable design consulting. Populous has 18 offices on four continents and more than 600 employees with regional centers in Kansas City, London and Brisbane.

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