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New venue in San Antonio wants to be the spot for both work and play

The range of events is growing at the newly opened Tech Port Center Arena in southwest San Antonio, creating an economic boom for a portion of the city often overlooked economically.

The arena is located at Port San Antonio. President and CEO Jim Perschbach said revenue from all events will benefit STEM-related education for local youths.

"All these concerts, all these gaming events, all this bar, the food and beverage -- that is going to pay for the opportunities for the kids we're going to bring in here and inspire," he said.

The revenue will go to the Kelly Heritage Foundation to support the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology and the Wex Foundation, which advances careers in space.

On Friday, the arena welcomed the professional gamer teams -- Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel -- which met in a digital shootout in the video game Overwatch 2, using a Beta version by Activision Blizzard. The match was billed as the Battle for Texas.

The two teams sat at separate rows of consoles on a stage as an audience looked on and scores flashed above them.

Lori Burgess, chief operating officer of Beasley Esports, which owns the Houston Outlaws, said the professional gamers should be thought of as professional athletes.

"It's really intense training. It's a team of five players being coached and supported by a huge organization," she said. "And they really rely on their brains and eye-hand coordination to really drive strategy and communicate with one another to achieve goals in the game they are playing, which is Overwatch."

Burgess said there are 20 teams around the world that compete in the Overwatch league. Interested gamers from San Antonio and Austin are welcome to join the Houston Outlaws.

Tech Port Center Arena General Manager Eric Blockie said they are ready for more bookings as the pandemic wanes locally.

"This is the first live Esport event held post pandemic for Overwatch, and we're excited they chose Tech Port Center Arena to have it," he said.

Blockie said they can book concerts, conferences, meetings, product unveilings, and even weddings.

The newly opened Tech Port Center Arena includes a large room for gamers with 40 state of the art consoles to play on.

Employee Kevin Meyer said they hope gamers from the southwestern and southern parts of the city will take advantage of the state-of-the art game room, but all are welcome to play every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"Anybody can play any game they want," he said. "We will have the majority of games downloaded that very popular like Valorant, Overwatch is the big one that is going on today, League Legends, but if you have a game at home that you want to play here and we don't have it downloaded, then you're more than welcome to download it here."

There is a charge of $5 for the first hour of play, followed by $2 for each following hour.

The arena is located at 3331 General Hudnell.

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