Henderson Engineers recently returned from the 2022 Esports Business Summit in Las Vegas. The event brings together all sectors of the esports ecosystem for education, networking, inspiration, and deal-making. Attendees were able to learn alongside executives and experts from brand marketing, teams, leagues, game publishers, television, sports, and technology. Kevin Butler, venue sector practice manager, returned from the event with the following key takeaways:
The State of Esports Venues
The spotlight is mostly given to large esports venues, but the priority should be shifted towards community LAN centers and collegiate spaces to help grow and cultivate the esports community. This growth will ensure that the larger venues can be fully supported when they come online. Shifts in the retail market to become more about experiences will suit the esports industry well and assist with the community level growth.
When planning a larger esports venue, every esports event requires a different configuration (in the round, end stage, etc.), so venue flexibility is required to accommodate the various esports events. In addition to flexibility, versatility is key to having a viable venue since there is not currently a high enough volume of premium esports for year-round programming.
Attracting Esports Events
Locations that have had success attracting esports events have received buy-in from stakeholders at the city, county, and state level. The state of Georgia has had success in the esports market after replicating the successful strategy they used to attract the television and film industries. The use of tax incentives and the available infrastructure and workforce have been keys to their success.
Colleges and universities are utilizing recreational esports spaces as the “campus living room” to provide a social space for students. Viewing a LAN center as a social gathering space has not yet become widely accepted across all campuses, so this should be considered when determining the size of the facility since some individuals prefer to use the equipment at their home. Whether a campus has a recreational space or a space that supports their varsity team, an emerging trend is renting out the facility for birthday parties or other similar events to provide an additional revenue stream.
One of the biggest opportunities for collegiate esports is the development of academic curriculum to support the growing industry. The esports industry continues to grow and is larger than the film and the music industry which both have an academic presence at most universities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
The esports industry continues to place a heavy focus on DEI initiatives in all that they do. Their goal is for these initiatives to be in the ethos and at the core of esports/gaming, not just a seasonal focus or targeted to specific recognition events.
Henderson Knows Venues
When it comes to arenas, convention centers, stadia, airports, and multi-purpose venues, we know what it takes to design a space that’s performance and experience ready for every athlete, entertainer, fan, attendee, or facility operator. Our Venue Sector experts are always focused on the end-user, blending functionality with technical expertise, and exploring innovative solutions to showcase the competition, enhance the aesthetic and amenities, and ensure patron and fan comfort. When it comes to designing environments where thousands of people come together, our Venue Sector experts lead the field.
Have questions about these takeaways, or interested in learning more about the esports industry? Reach out!
Join our email list to get the latest design innovations, technical content, new projects, and research from Henderson’s experts delivered straight to your inbox.