First E-Sports Arena to be Launched in Vegas

(With Reporting from the AP) Gone are the days where Gamers are stuck in their Mom’s basement in their underwear, while eating Cheetos.

MGM Resorts International on Tuesday announced plans for the arena that will feature a competition stage, LED video wall, daily gaming stations, food and drink and a streaming and television-quality production studio. Work on the venue will begin in early June with the goal of opening in early 2018.

Momentum, which utilized Twitch’s Research Power Group to poll more than 2,600 gamers across the U.S., U.K., and Japan, found that 53 percent of respondents think people will spend more time watching and playing games than watching and playing traditional sports within the next five years.

“We’ve closely watched the growth and excitement around esports, and we are always looking for new amenities for our Vegas customers,” Niklas Rytterstrom, general manager of Luxor, said. He told The Associated Press that the decision to nix the LAX nightclub was not because of its performance, but instead, it was motivated by the desire to offer customers “something really different.”

This will be the second esports arena in Sin City. The first one began hosting gamers in March in downtown Las Vegas. The arenas are part of a trend that the casino industry hopes will attract the millennial crowd.

The announcement from MGM comes on the heels of a report showing that a third of Las Vegas’ nearly 43 million tourists last year were millennials — those between 18 to 35 — up from less than a quarter in 2015.

Financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.

And industry statistics are already backing this valuation and demonstrating the potential for massive earnings. To illustrate the market value, market growth, and potential earnings for eSports, consider Swedish media company Modern Times Group’s $87 million acquisition of Turtle Entertainment, the holding company for ESL. YouTube has made its biggest eSports investment to date by signing a multiyear broadcasting deal with Faceit to stream the latter’s Esports Championship Series. And the NBA will launch its own eSports league in 2018.

The arena at Luxor will have the capacity to host 1,000 people at a time. It will have areas for people 21 and older, and others open for a crowd 16 and up.

MGM has partnered with Allied Esports to develop the facility. The company’s network of esports venues includes facilities in China, Europe and North America.

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