Like the rest of the tech industry, YouTube was forced to transition from live to virtual events earlier this year when it shuttered its studio spaces for creators and musicians. Just four months later, with the pandemic subsiding, the Google-owned video platform is now embracing live entertainment like never before. YouTube has partnered with Hollywood Park, a near 300-acre mega development in Inglewood, California, to host a massive live venue.
The “YouTube Theater” will be a three-story, 6,000 seater arena for performances that range from traditional concerts to the type of events you’d associate with its namesake. Think eSports and creator and community shows for the site’s dedicated contingent of gamers and vloggers. Maybe the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers — whose 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium is in the same complex — will also drop in. Naturally, all those gigs, meetups and tourneys will feed back into the company’s main platform, creating fodder for livestreamed and on-demand content that users will be able to watch on YouTube proper.
The Hollywood Park project has already corralled an eclectic bunch of pop stars to perform at the YouTube Theater with the help of Live Nation. Pitbull, Black Pumas, Devo, Trippie Redd and Marina and the Diamonds will all grace the venue through this year and the next.
Formerly a historic racetrack frequented by Hollywood royalty, the site is being converted into a massive mixed-use development, home to almost 3,000 apartments, a sports stadium, a 300-room hotel and an 890,000-square-foot retail area. Construction on the theater is scheduled to be completed this summer.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a YouTube event without some social interaction. In that vein, the venue will feature a massive exterior screen that guests can mirror themselves on and view clips through. Google could also use it to highlight the same products it sells at it’s newly opened debut retail store in New York City.
YouTube isn’t the first video service to broach live events, though the scale here may be unmatched by its closest rivals. Take Netflix: The world’s biggest streamer owns New York’s iconic Paris movie theater and has previously organized live comedy events. Disney and the rest of Hollywood, meanwhile, regularly turn up to Comic-Con to promote their biggest blockbusters. YouTube’s heavyweight creators — who run the gamut from pranksters to serial toy openers to beauty and makeup experts — will likely be chomping at the bit for a chance to take to the theater’s 6,100 square-foot stage.
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