The esports industry offers some potentially sizable benefits to the USA and its economy at large.
With the ever-growing success of esports, America is well placed to capitalise on it and be one of the major leaders both business wise and in hosting events across esports titles.
It’s an industry which shows no sign of stopping down in terms of monetary growth; it has been reported that the global esports economy will reach a sizable $906m (~£605m) in 2018.
A reported 11% of revenue from the esports industry comes from merchandise and tickets. So it seems, plenty of money can be made by hosting a major tournament.
For example, the 2016 League of Legends World Championship was able to earn a fee in the region of $2m (~£1.42m) from fan contributions. The 2017 Dota 2 International had an even bigger prize pool of over $24.8m (~£17.7m) in prize money, where more than $21m (~£15m) was from fan / player contribution.
These fan contributions are typically in-game purchases that give players special items or characters. All the in-game purchases are limited release items and players are only able to purchase it once before it expires and cannot be purchased again.
It was announced recently that Arlington, a city west of Dallas in Texas, proposes to construct the largest esports stadium in America. As of now, there aren’t many arenas or stadiums built that are designated to esports. Esports Arena which boasts several locations, most recently Oakland in California, is one such example, and the Blizzard Arena located in Los Angeles is intended to host esports competitions aside from the Overwatch League and Hearthstone.
The new esports stadium, which is proposed to finish completion by autumn this year, is a whopping 100,000 square feet space and it can hold up to 1,000 spectators. Such a stadium should be great for fans who will come to support the esports tournaments hosted there. Putting such a purpose-built esports stadium in America will make the country even more of an epicentre for esports coverage.
Building an esports stadium of that size is a great move for both esports and America. Esports viewership is expected to reach in excess of 215 million in 2018 and looks to grow to almost 300 million by 2020.
Having the stadium built in Arlington will surely boost the city’s economy. The city itself is far from as popular as other destinations in the States for tourists such as New York City or Los Angeles, nor does it have the population size of these two cities. However, with the addition of the new esports only mid-sized venue, Arlington can be a popular city known for esports. Katowice in Poland is a great example of how a relatively small city became famous from esports. Katowice has landed itself a place in the esports’ history books thanks to it being the host of the Intel Extreme Masters.
The 2018 IEM Katowice took place this February and March, and was another huge success. Over the course of two weekends, 169,000 fans traveled to the Polish city and filled the Spodek Arena whilst it recorded 127 million impressions on social media.
Following this year’s edition TEO published a story on the positive impact becoming an esports host city has had for Katowice, and whilst the proposed Arlington venue isn’t the size of the Spodek nor can it hope to achieve the same results, even a taste of this success would provide a boost to the local economy.
It may be surprising that the stadium will be built in a city like Arlington opposed to a metropolis like New York City or Los Angeles. But, on closer inspection, Arlington already houses plenty of other professional sports teams such as the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the WNBA’s Wings, and space is of course cheaper here than in LA and NYC too.
The Mayor of Arlington, Jeff Williams is proud that his city will be the host of the stadium. He said: “Being on the forefront of new ideas and setting trends is in our DNA and part of who we are as The American Dream City.”
“Being on the forefront of new ideas and setting trends is in our DNA and part of who we are as The American Dream City”
The anticipation and expectation is that fans will head to Arlington to experience the new stadium and the tournaments it hosts, which will in turn generate more cash for the city from everything from advertising to hotels, restaurants, bars and so on.
If the stadium is a success for Arlington and it proves to be an economy booster; other cities across the US may look to invest in constructing stadiums built for esports events.
This is the hope, and the esports American dream, but for now let’s wait and see how Arlington’s attempt fares in the self-designated American Dream City.