If you still need more proof that eSports are a viable revenue generator, look no further than Las Vegas, which opened a new 15,000-square-foot venue on March 3 to host video game tournaments and attract more millennials to that city.
The facility’s first event was a Halo World Championship qualifier with a $50,000 prize pool. Later this month, it will host an EA Sports-sanctioned Madden NFL 17 tournament.
“Las Vegas needs to consistently reinvent itself to remain relevant to the up-and-coming generation,” Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and a member of the board of directors of Millennial Esports, the company behind the arena, told the Associated Press. “We’ve always come up with ways to maintain our position as the entertainment capital of the world.”
According to the AP report:
Athletes participating in a tournament at the arena will emerge from a tunnel surrounded by roaring crowds in the stands. They will then go on a podium and sit at stations equipped with game consoles, monitors and other equipment.
The arena is within walking distance of downtown hotel-casinos. It will host 200 people in stadium-style seating overlooking the main stage, but hundreds more can be accommodated in another hall outfitted with screens showing the live competition. The entire facility was built in an area that once housed movie theaters and a nightclub.
More than 3 miles of CAT cable were needed to wire the facility. Its dozens of ports offer Internet speeds of one gigabit. When no tournaments are in progress, the facility will be open to casual gamers and others interested in using the high-speed Internet.
Las Vegas casinos have invested in numerous non-gaming amenities to attract the elusive millennials, from rooms with bunk beds for the young travelers who don’t want to spend a minute apart to a lounge that features pool, foosball and air hockey. The Downtown Grand, a short walk from the new arena, has an e-sports lounge, where tournament competitors, casual gamers and fans play and socialize.
“eSports no longer needs to be legitimized; it’s a huge sport already,” Mike Sepso, co-founder of Major League Gaming, told the AP. “There are eSports fans everywhere in this country.”