The e-sports revolution has officially begun in Las Vegas and Downtown Grand is the catalyst. Thanks to the Five Hundy by Midnight Podcast for the heads up. The struggling downtown property will play host to popular (?) e-sports juggernauts (?) the LA Renegades. If you’re not caught up on your e-sports news and nomenclature, e-sports (electronic “sports”) is essentially competitive video gaming and the Renegades are, presumably, a team in that realm. So, how does DTG play into all of this? Here’s a snippet of a recent press release:
The LA Renegades are a group of five eSports athletes from Australia who are among the world’s elite players of “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” a first-person shooter game. Downtown Grand is emerging as a front-runner to capitalize on the immense popularity of eSports. Currently, the estimated U.S. audience of eSports fans is 32 million people, and is expected to grow to more than 50 million by 2017, according to research firm Newzoo. Most of those fans are millennials, a challenging demographic to reach especially when it comes to casino gaming.
Smart move or fool’s errand? The e-sports market has been growing rapidly in the last few years. Major brands and venture capitalists have been pouring money into the industry based on the viewership numbers highlighted in the press release. The Renegades’ “residency” at DTG will consist of live practice room trials and meet and greet opportunities. The first big event at DTG will be in late November when it will host a live stream of IEM Live, a Counter Strike and League of Legends tournament featuring the world’s best e-sport “athletes”. Tickets start at $10. It should be noted that these tournaments can garner massive viewership numbers. According to ESPN, the 2013 League of Legends tournament boasted 27 million viewers, more than any other major U.S. sport championship other than the Super Bowl. However, DTG is not hosting an actual tournament. They are merely hosting a livestream of the competition taking place in San Jose. So, yeah.
Are e-sports and Las Vegas a match made in digital heaven? Time will tell. One obvious connection is the growth of e-sports betting. Even Mark Cuban, my second favorite Shark, has gotten in on the action. Earlier this year Cuban invested in Unikrn, a betting platform in which users can wager on various video game tournaments. Perhaps Call of Duty lines will soon sit next to MLB futures at your favorite sportsbook.
While some of us may be ignorant to the world of e-sports, the fanaticism of these young players and spectators will be hard to ignore in the near future. Who knows if this live streaming event at DTG will be successful? I give them credit for taking a leap into this segment- an obvious attempt reach out to us difficult to please Millennials.