Updated: Jul 20
Arena Consultancy’s lead consultant, Ben Akroyd, recently spoke at the Esports Venue Summit about the evolution of esports venues and the various ways in which purpose-built and mixed-use locations are used for such events.
Here’s a selection of some of the questions that he was asked along with his responses where he
shared his knowledge of the esports industry and its evolution in recent years.
What have been the different types of venues used to host esports?
BA - There’s a surprisingly wide range of venue types that are used for hosting esports events. Such locations range from relatively small cyber cafes and dedicated LAN party businesses to much larger LAN venues, educational establishments such as university campuses, and event major exhibition centres.
The type of venue used for an esports event is usually determined by the type of esports
tournament being held and whether or not the majority of the audience will be viewing on location or via a digital broadcast.
For example, if there’s going to be a large number of offline or on-location people attending, a large space will be needed to accommodate them all. However, if the event is going to be broadcast online, the focus will shift from the physical size of the venue to whether it can facilitate online streaming.
What type of role do major operators play in creating cutting edge facilities that are esports-
BA - The standards for esports facilities have definitely risen over the past decade or so with both organisers and attendees now expecting a level of professionalism and polish that used to be limited to traditional sporting events or music performances.
One example of a location that’s really stepped up is Esports Stadium Arlington, which boasts a
venue for events, on-location accommodation, food and drink services, and direct airport transfers.
Another is Tech Port Arena in San Antonio which has a number of quality food services on location, high speed internet, and several premium options for attendees interested in paying more for a more high-end esports experience away from the crowds.
What are the various sources of funding leading to the growth of new venues for esports events?
BA - As we’ve seen with Iceland, government support on the national level can be a great source of funding for both the gaming and esports industries. There, the government encourages investors to support startups with incentives and also offers rather high reimbursements for development and research.
Government support on the regional level can also be a main driver for esports funding as is the case in Katowice, Poland.
What is the role of national strategies in esports?
BA - Support from the government level is incredibly important for the development of a successful esports industry in any region. Potential national esports strategies include reduction in taxes, funding for startups and events, and, as was done in Iceland, significant financial support for industry training to not only improve the existing workforce but also grow it by attracting more esports- related personnel to the area.
In that instance, the Icelandic government provided the Icelandic Electronic Sports Association with 10 million ISK to be used towards developing coaching courses for jobseekers in the electronic sports sector.
What role do esports venues have in the wellbeing of gamers?
British Esports Association: Andy Payne OBE, Chair: “When we established the BEA in 2016, we did it with the aspiration that esports would become recognised for the incredible value it provides its community.
The gaming community has long understood that esports helps teamwork, communication and
strategic thinking, together with combating loneliness. Alongside this, it creates opportunities for its athletes to participate in a team environment in a similar way to traditional sports; with similar
benefits for participants.
Icelandic Esports Association is offering 6 month esports coaching programmes which is intended for those currently jobless Iceland’s government has pumped in ISK 10 million ($78,000/€64,000) for implementing the six-month coaching programme, which intended for those who currently jobless.
Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Social Affairs and Children, said: “I am very excited about this collaboration with the Icelandic eSports Association, where we are hitting two birds with one stone.
Create exciting opportunities for unemployed individuals and at the same time strengthen eSports infrastructure. There is a lot of strength and growth in eSports in Iceland, but the industry is young and therefore the infrastructure in clubs is often lacking. There has also been a lack of individuals who have experience in training young people, and it is very important that we get individuals with skills and experience into [the eSports industry].”