The emerging industry of eSports just continues to grow. The announcement of their inclusion in the Asian Games (leading to much speculation about inclusion in the Olympics) has ignited a conflagration of debate. Which, of course, just continues to fuel growth.
The latest announcement is something all sports event planners should note: in light of the inclusion of eSports in the Asian Games, a series of regional qualifiers has emerged.
According to an article in Inside The Games,
All 64 eligible National Olympic Committees (NOCs) - consisting of 45 from Asia and 19 from Oceania - are being encouraged to hold domestic qualification events. Four games are going to be played as part of a demonstration event in Turkmenistan's capital.One "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" (MOBA) game will be played along with one "Real-Time Strategy" (RTS) game, one sports game and one card game.
A Dota 2 team competition has been confirmed as the MOBA game while an individual StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void competition will take place in the RTS category. Hearthstone will be played as an individual card game while either FIFA or NBA will be the sports game.
Interested players must be registered by their NOCs by June 10, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) have announced, with each country responsible for selecting a maximum of two players or teams by June 30. These players will then take part in one of six regional qualifying competitions - for East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, South East Asia and Oceania - to be held online between July 1 and 20.The new structure – reminiscent of other sports – should serve as an example to those who would like to set up national competitions in this country. And with the number of colleges offering eSports teams (and scholarships for outstanding players) growing, it’s a market nobody can afford to ignore. And as we’ve seen, there are even off-season training facilities being opened for serious gamers.
While these qualifying events aren’t being held in the U.S., plenty others, for different circuits, are. The $100,000 DreamHack Austin Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament qualifiers started in March. The Rivalcade Overwatch Rumble saw 64 teams take part in a qualifying event on April 18, from which the top eight teams will advance to the group stage. Group Play then was offered the following week, with a Double-Elimination and Grand Finals afterward. All matches were live-streamed on Twitch and Rivalcade TV. Call of Duty Stage 2 Qualifiers were held in mid-June in Anaheim.
For those destinations wanting to become involved, and those planners hot to try the new sport, there are a number of great resources on the Internet dealing with everything from having the correct technical specifications to marketing to obtaining sponsorships to attracting players to maximizing revenue – and in some cases, plenty of good stories about ‘lessons learned’ by doing things right – and wrong.