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Maple Grove couple aims to open esports arena in Minneapolis

3D renderings are shown of what the planned space could potentially look like for GameBox Café. Photo: Courtesy of GameBox Café
3D renderings are shown of what the planned space could potentially look like for GameBox Café.

Updated: September 18, 2019 03:05 PM

Esports leagues are a common trend in society these days, and more are popping up in the Twin Cities. 

Last year, the topic gained popularity at the University of Minnesota, where a nationally-ranked team plays a computer game called "Overwatch."

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Esports gain popularity on University of Minnesota campus

Now, a Maple Grove couple is making it their priority to build GameBox Café, an esports arena and LAN gaming center, in Minneapolis. 

"If we build it, they will come," founder Marcus Erickson said in a release.

Erickson is the father of four young boys who love video games. He's also a disabled Air Force veteran who enjoys tinkering with computers in his spare time. After speaking with several video gamers and esports enthusiasts, he has little doubt the interest for a new space to play is strong.

"GameBox Café is going to be a really unique place, something where both hardcore esports teams can practice and casual gamers can host a birthday party," Erickson said in the release.

Varsity program at Concordia-St. Paul a sign esports is on the rise

While a few online gaming places do exist in the Twin Cities, Erickson said none have the arena-style format they have planned or focus exclusively on both esports and LAN gaming.

The couple started a Kickstarter campaign on Sept. 1 with a goal of $50,000 to start work on a 2,000-square-foot space that would feature state-of-the-art gaming stations. Additional future plans include adding a coworking space and a party center, according to a release.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until Oct. 8. The Ericksons plan to move forward with their business opportunity, whether the kickstarter is successful or not.

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Tommy Wiita

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