by Mike Hopper
The first question to ask regarding ESports is, why does your city want to host these events? Early research on these events does not show them to be tremendous drivers of local economic impact, with perhaps their greatest value to a city coming on the streaming side. But even then, cities are not integrated into the streams of these events in the same manner Super Bowl Week coverage will feature the sights and sounds of Minnesota.
Where an ESports competition may add value to a city is in community engagement and reputation, with youth and young adults taking a focus.
If your city is looking for a way in which to bring youth and law enforcement officials together, perhaps an ESports tournament could be the solution. A fun competition, in an exciting venue, that might reward the winners with tickets to your local pro team could be the start of an ongoing normalization between these two groups. Additionally, if your city has a global reputation of being “old”, “behind on technology” or in general, lacking interest, then perhaps hosting a major ESports tournament would assist in changing that narrative, but your work doesn’t end by hosting the event. If this is truly the reason for hosting, you need to develop and manage an all-encompassing event strategy that layers the excitement of hosting this event across daily talking points, agency / organizational programming and your city’s public-private partnerships.
I suspect ESports competitions will eventually become more interesting from an economic impact and tourism perspective, but at this moment in time, there’s likely more impactful events to focus on.