According to financial reports by Hearts United Group EVO Japan 2018, the first Evolution Championship Series event held out of the United States, resulted in a loss of $1.13m (£837,000).
Despite the 7,000 entrants, sponsorship did not meet expectations for the cost of running the fighting game tournament.
Compared to EVO 2017 in Las Vegas which charged a base of $55 (£40) – $75 (£55) for competitor passes, EVO Japan did not make money from players or spectators as entry was free except on the final day. This lack of charge was due to Japan’s competitive gaming regulations. EVO Co-Founder Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar” told Compete: “Japanese law only allows us to pay out 20 times the entry fee, so in order for us to pay out the amount that we want, we have to make the tournament free entry”. The event was also originally intended to run at Akihabara UDX in Tokyo, but after a test run in May 2017, it decided to run the preliminaries at a larger venue which was most likely one of the major factors of the deficit in event budget.
Due to the lack of profit from attendees, Hearts United relied mostly on sponsorship of the event which included Nissin Cup Noodles as a title sponsor along with Red Bull, Razer, Alienware, Asus and Vertagear as other sponsors and partners.
The next EVO event will be back in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center August 5th with tickets costing $48 (£35) – $97 (£71).
Esports Insider says: This is a surprise coming from such a large and popular event like EVO. The announcement of taking the tournament to Japan was exciting, as fighting games are particularly popular in the country. It seems as though the lack of sponsorship was a bit of a surprise as well and potentially a last minute obstacle. Hopefully tournament organisers can live and learn from this experience.