The esports industry encompasses the community of gamers, viewers and sponsors, all of whom create and consume content around video games. While esports is usually disseminated via livestream, a new movement has seen a sharp rise in in-person gaming at physical locations. The growing number of gaming bars and competitions hosted at large venues is a testament to the exponential growth of the esports industry.
The most popular games involve teams competing in leagues and tournaments, where the champions are crowned at the end of the season, much like professional sports. Players can also compete in one-on-one games in similar competitions. The ultimate jackpot for winning such events ranges up to $24 million – peanuts compared to the industry’s worth. In 2017 alone, all of esports brought in $696 million in revenue.
Corporate sponsors factor into esports, helping to fund players, teams and tournaments. Other games stream their own content websites like Twitch, through a model similar to pay-per-view. Sound familiar? In many ways, esports is very similar to professional athletic sports. Both types have large, worldwide fan bases willing to pay good money to attend tournaments and games. According to Nielsen Esports, the majority of esports fans see their game of choice as equivalent to live athletics.
Live tournaments can have an attendance level even larger than many professional sports. In 2017, 173,000 people attended the Intel Extreme Masters competition in Poland. At such events, professional gamers compete in 5 different games, as thousands of spectators watch the event in real-time.
Esports fans are young: 61% of the viewers are millennials, and 70% are under the age of 34. As of 2016, women made up 23% of fans watching more than once a week. The majority of players are men in their mid-twenties.
Planning an Esports Event
Esports fans are young and know their way around technology. Event goers will expect the latest tech to be featured at in-person events, such as cutting-edge virtual reality experiences. These innovations are essential to keep tech-savvy gamers engaged in a live event.
Planners must work to make everyday necessities immediately accessible from the event, as well. Gamers are looking to have food, drinks, competitions, and a social space all wrapped into one. Picture late-night snacks and a full bar. An esports arena debuted recently in Oakland. Its sponsor? Cup of Noodles.
Online tools for registration and accommodation are essential to planning esports events. Stay22 offers a great option for booking accommodation directly from an event or ticketing website. The customizable map widget caters directly to an audience seeking alternative forms of accommodation nearby an esports event.
Large live-event organizers must also be prepared to tap into the origins of esports: the livestream. A highly streamed event can create buzz and drive a larger in-person attendance at events to come.
Esports is attracting a huge audience, dominated by twenty-something-year-old males, with a growing female audience. Event planners need to cater to the specific tastes and demographics of esports fans, from their desire for cutting-edge technology to providing snacks and drinks prepared in-house. Connecting with the desires of esports audiences and players will allow event planners to take esports tournaments to a whole new level.