Malaysia has its first state of the art esports facility called The Pantheon, and a Syracuse research team believes 77% of esports fans like to gamble opposed to 33% of the general public.
Back in 1987 when the price of a dozen eggs was 30p, I would steal a few quid from my dad’s work trousers and meet up with my mates in Sterlini’s Cafe.
There were two reasons we hung out in Sterlini’s: Wonder Boy and Spoof. The first was an arcade game by SEGA where you controlled a little caveman dude, and the second was a fruit machine with a skill stop.
We thought we were the business.
These days, gamers don’t congregate in cafe’s owned by an old Italian guy. They hang around in places like The Pantheon, a new state of the art gaming facility recently opened in One City, Selangor in Malaysia.
The Pantheon is a 10,000sq m monster with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX certified esports arena so customers can watch the major esports events in style. I have no idea what all those acronyms mean, but it sounds impressive.
Here are some more.
The gaming arena comes equipped with GTX 1060 or higher GPU, paired with 27in, 144Hz G-sync monitors.
There are 116 gaming machines, a virtual reality (VR) area, racing simulators, and a PS4 zone. In a smart bit of business, The Pantheon owners have created six specially branded play areas where esports equipment suppliers can show off their wares – Alienware, Omen, Predator, Republic of Gamers, Legion, and MSI currently hold office.
The Pantheon is open to anyone older than 12+ as long as they aren’t wearing a school uniform. Tribal colours are banned, so that means Angus Young isn’t getting a game. The owners of the Pantheon are also keen to welcome esports teams who want to train at the facility.
Entry prices fall between RM5 to RM30 ($1-$7) per hour, pricing for the VR zone is RM50 per 30 minutes ($11).
There is a Reason For All This Hullabaloo
I eventually had to quit my trips to Sterlini’s after my dad caught me stealing my game money. Not that it mattered, the old man closed the shop, and it’s currently a Chinese takeaway.
‘The Pantheon won’t be following in Sterlini’s footsteps. MBA@Syracuse, the online MBA program from Syracuse University recently published an article focusing on the incredible global growth of esports and it’s a compelling read.’
With a little help from the technology consulting firm Activate, the Syracuse team estimates that by 2020 70 million people will sit down to watch a major esports final either live or via digital or TV broadcast routes. If that’s true, then only the NFL will command a higher viewing audience with over 100 million viewers kneeling down to watch the 11-minutes of action thrown up by the Superbowl.
By that time, esports fans would have soaked up 3 billion hours of Dota 2, League of Legends (LOL), et al., coming in at 10% of overall sports viewing. And we don’t even have to wait three years. According to Esports Marketing Blog men aged between 18 – 25 watch more esports hours than traditional sports.
And the gambling business is going to benefit from this buzz.
The Syracuse outfit believes esports revenue will grow from $300m to $1.5 billion by 2020, with gambling both on esports outcomes and in-play betting increasing to represent 10% of all sports betting. The research team established that 77% of esports fans like a flutter compared to 33% of the general public. In-play, betting will grow from a $5b niche to a $12b niche in three years time. The esports gambling industry is currently worth $109 billion.