A video sports competition, in a booming industry that saw more than $1.1 billion in worldwide revenue last year, will soon be coming to El Paso in the unique form of a drive-in theater.
The Horizon Property Group has announced plans to build an e-sports venue at the site of the Outlet Shoppes, located at 7051 S. Desert Boulevard in northwest El Paso.
Horizon Property is the owner of the Outlet Shoppes mall. The Greenwood, Indiana-based company is planning to build similar e-sports drive-ins on the property of three other malls it owns in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Laredo, Texas; and Louisville, Kentucky.
The unusual venues will be built in conjunction with the sports analytics company, Harena Data of Franklin, Indiana.
E-sports is a sports competition involving multi-player games. Traditionally played in the confines of large rooms through a series of computers, Horizon Property’s concept will see those same games being played from the safety of users sitting in their cars, marrying the latest computer technology with a 1950s movie-going experience.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, James Harris, Horizon Property’s managing director, said the e-sports drive-in will also support other retailers doing business in the company’s malls.
The drive-ins, said Harris, are a “new and updated, albeit retro, component of our centers that give shoppers added reasons to visit their local retailers.”
Because the drive-ins will only naturally see customers playing in their cars and at a distance from each other, noted Harris, “this exciting attraction will have safety as a priority.”
Work on what is being called the USA Drive-In in El Paso is expected to begin this fall.
Drive-in theaters came into favor during the exact same years as America’s embrace of the automobile, with more than 4,000 such theaters in operation by the end of the 1950s.
That number gradually declined through the decades to the roughly five hundred that are still up and running today.
By Garry Boulard
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