This research studies the growing popularity of eSports in our society and investigates the issues related to the development of venues for eSports events. Jenny, Keiper, Taylor, Williams, Gawrysiak, Manning and Tutka use the Open Systems Theory to explain that one of the major factors of survival for a sports facility is the external environment, which includes social, economic and political factors. In this paper, the authors focus on the growing popularity of eSports events that increasingly use sports facilities as the event venue. Therefore, they suggest that there is a need for consideration of eSports in the development of sports facilities.
The discussion moves to the incapability of our current society to host eSports events. Thus, Jenny et al. suggest three approaches in response to this problem:
- Equipment and personnel needed to host eSports events
- Adapting existing facilities
- Creating new eSport-specific facilities
Equipment and personnel for hosting eSports events, as pointed out by the authors, somewhat resemble those in traditional sports events, yet some particular infrastructure is dedicated only to eSports events, such as gaming gear, internet and LAN connections, livestreaming production equipment and so on. In the case of tournaments, personnel is needed to control and inspect the gaming gear brought by the players themselves to prevent illegal behavior. Sports facilities should take these into consideration when hosting eSports events.
The authors further suggest another approach that existing facilities can renovate themselves, such as improvement in internet infrastructure, to better adapt to hosting eSports events. The adaptation is necessary as sports facilities are being more diversified in their usage and various events like drone racing also demand their specific needs. Additionally, they point out that it would be a smart move as eSports events have great potential in economic returns due to its growing popularity.
The last approach is creating new eSports-specific facilities. The authors mentioned that these facilities are usually smaller in size but they are designed for hosting eSports events with better spectatorship setting and a proper infrastructure ready for broadcasting the event. Several eSports-specific facilities are already built in the U.S. and in China and more investments are coming into this development.
In conclusion, the authors mention that as there is an increasing demand for hosting eSports events, the adaptation and creation of venues would be a promising move for financial return.
Jenny, S. E., Keiper, M. C., Taylor, B. J., Williams, D. P., Gawrysiak, J., Manning, R. D., & Tutka, P. M. (2018). eSports venues: A new sport business opportunity. Journal of Applied Sport Management, 10(1), 34-49. doi:10.18666/JASM-2018-V10-I1-8469
Photo source: taken by me in LanTrek 2019