E-Sports popularity and growth has increased exponentially over the past few years, and it looks like Macau Casinos are looking to cash in on this and jump on the bandwagon. With some truly impressive crowd support and large prize funds, it’s obvious why any casino would be excited to use competitive video gaming as a way to help diversify their offerings and boost their non-gaming revenue.
Their first experiment in e-Sports began over the past weekend at the University of Macau, as the Grand Lisboa Hotel owned by SJM Holdings, sponsored the MDL Macau Dota2 International Elite Invitational. The tournament was billed as the first major international e-Sports competition hosted and held in Macau. There are growing signs that the local gaming industry plans to become more involved in esport events in the future.
E-SPORT EVENTS ATTRACT TEAMS AND TOURISTS GLOBALLY
SJM Holdings CEO Ambrose So Shu Fai wrote in a statement that: “E-Sports is an emerging industry with huge growth potential and global viewership.” Commenting further he said: “Macau is put in the limelight with this major e-Sport tournament, which we believe will further benefit the development of the city’s tourism and leisure business.”
The tournament held at the university had a prize pool of just under CA$400,000 and attracted nine professional teams. The European team OG defeated TNC Gaming of the Philippines 2-0 in the final. The tournament was further bolstered by star NBA players, to give it a more global appeal. SJM added in their release: “Formally recognised by China as an official sports programme, the e-Sports industry has seen a rapid growth in recent years. The viewership of e-Sports in China is increasing and is gradually catching up with that of traditional sports.” The document also added that China’s top e-Sports finals in 2016 attracted 43 million viewers.
MACAU CASINOS SET TO INCREASE E-SPORTS PRESENCE
While this was only the first major event sponsored in Macau, signs show there is a growing interest in hosting further events. A series of business presentations were presented last month at the MGS Entertainment Show which focused on how the local gaming industry could integrate with competitive gaming events to boost the economy and attract bigger audiences to the resorts.
One of the reasons Macau would be a great success is the extensive convention space available throughout. Macau legislator and scholar Davis Fong Ka Chio recently said: “The setup for e-Sports is more or less the same as for a big convention centre. Whenever there is an international e-Sports competition, thousands of players gather.” The scholar said he believes e-Sports is a segment that can complement non-gaming offering of the city’s casino resorts.