Las Vegas Strip Receives First Esports Arena at Luxor
The Las Vegas Strip’s Luxor Casino has decided to convert its 30,000 square foot LAX nightclub into the Strip’s first esports arena. The venue is pulling out all the stops and putting in the works to make the area a premiere esports competition and viewing venue.
YWS Design & Architecture will be taking charge of the redesign process, which will ultimately feature a multi-level, telescopic-seated spectator amphitheater with a raised competition stage, and massive, ultramodern LED display walls for easy viewing. In addition to competition events, the venue will feature daily gaming stations, a customized food and beverage menu, and a state-of-the-art streaming and television-quality production studio. The arena will host about 1,000 spectators at a time and feature two separate areas for gaming enthusiasts. One will be accessible to those ages 16 and older, with the other available to those ages 21 and older.
MGM Resorts International is partnering with China-based Allied Esports, a world-renowned eSports arena creator, to convert its admittedly successful nightclub into an eSports hotspot for Las Vegas’ gaming enthusiasts. The project will be renamed the Luxor Esports Arena and will offer what MGM Resorts International calls “something really different”.
Allied Esports International CEO Jud Hannigan was enthusiastic about the project and detailed plans for the construction in a statement where he said, “We have very ambitious expansion plans over the next two years, and when we realized that a location at Luxor was possible, we jumped at the opportunity to develop our flagship here.” He expects the arena to be comparable to iconic sports venues such as Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Wembley Stadium, fully anticipating that, “Esports Arena Las Vegas will be the iconic destination in esports and complement the city’s incredible appeal, attracting video gaming competitors and fans from around the world.”
Like many casino and betting operators, Luxor General Manager Niklas Rytterstrom believes esports to be a future frontrunner of the gaming and entertainment industries. After the venue’s completion in 2018, he expects the Luxor’s new addition to be a focal point of the Las Vegas Strip.
Rytterstrom said in a statement regarding the plans that, “Our company is the leader in the entertainment industry and recognizes the exciting growth in the esports industry.” He went on to add that, “With this partnership, we will introduce a new experience to the market, once again elevating the city’s vast entertainment offerings.” In regard to how often events will be held at the venue, Rytterstrom expects that “We will host a variety of events each night, as well as major esports tournaments on the weekends.”
Esports is already an established pastime in Asia, with such venues already spread throughout the continent. While permanent arena venues like that which the Luxor aims to open are considered standard in the East, few exist in North America. That leaves the market wide open for anyone willing put up the capital and invest in what is quickly becoming one of the favorite pastimes for millennials.
Allied Esports, which will manage the property on behalf of the Luxor, publicized this project as the third in its chain of esports venues across the US. The company already maintains several such successful arenas across Europe and China.
Electronic Sports, a Growing Industry
Esports is fast becoming one of the most widely enjoyed pastimes among Millennials and even older demographics. It is one that includes the practice of competitive video games on computer gaming systems, console gaming systems, and arcade gaming systems. Electronic game tournaments occur regularly worldwide for some of the most popular games being played today, the largest of which include Defenders of the Ancients 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, and League of Legends, just to name a few. Professional players train throughout the year and can earn tournament prizes that regularly reach into the millions.
Spectatorship takes place largely online via streaming services, such as Twitch and YouTube, while a spectating bar-scene has emerged alongside the esports industry much the same as traditional professional sports.
Gambling on esports has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds as well, with wagers regularly entertained on high-profile events that reach into the millions annually.
While the Luxor’s venue will be the largest of its kind on the strip, it already has competition in the esports arena that’s building steam in Sin City. Millennial Esports operates the “thE Arena”, a 15,000 square foot venue that seats 900 spectators allowing for 250 individuals to take a load off in stadium-style seating. The venue is open year round. It currently provides around 150 gaming consoles for use, but hopes to offer as many as 300 consoles and PCs in the near future.
Millennial Esports Corp’s CEO Alex Igelman was recently interviewed by Host City and admitted it was an uphill battle to get investors onboard initially, stating “I told them [the investors] the future of this industry was in Las Vegas and that we had to build an area and studio there. At first both of them were skeptical, but when I laid out the overall vision they both warmed up to the concept.” When the project had been completed the community response was what had really taken Igelman by surprise, he gushed, “The feedback from the esports community has been unbelievable. We have received many unsolicited emails congratulating and thanking us for building thE Arena from local, national and international esport fans and community members. We are truly overwhelmed by the response.”
Esports by the Numbers
As it stands, the industry is one that enjoys year-on-year growth of 43% and it is expected to grow this year by nearly $500 million. Last year, tournament prizes industry-wide reached $61 million for participants. As many as 148 million enjoy participating in esports as either players or spectators, with 144 million individuals across the globe tuning in for major events.
According to data provided by Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence covering global games, esports, and mobile markets, global awareness among the Esports industry’s 1.6 billion viewers is split between China, Europe, North America in 28%, 24% and 18% partitions, respectively. The other 38% is spread across the rest of the globe.
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