Authenticity is everything. They are a community first.
I've struggled to find something similar in the modern casino environment, but this phenomenon does not exist. In the esports community, players, fans, and spectators are engaged and loyal. They are intensely loyal and passionate about their relationship to esports. This behavior cannot be rationally explained, yet understanding that is central to my point. To become accepted into this world means to become a part of it and to be an active participant in it, not merely a sponsor or venue looking to cash in on the phenomenon.
Players, fans and spectators: Which one is the key to monetization?
It's not what you might think. All are important to the design of the experience, but one is the key to long-term sustainable success: The spectator. Esports began with the players. It evolved as the players became more competitive and tournament structures supported competition on a larger scale which developed large networks of fans. The growth of both Twitch and YouTube points to yet a third evolution, the role of esports as entertainment. Just consider the massive scale of spectators who consume esports media and purchase the tens of thousands of tickets to esports events. Esports is a form of gaming, a type of competition and a massive form of entertainment.
You — the company culture thing.
Together we represent a highly successful economic powerhouse of an industry. We employ hundreds of thousands of people and provide entertainment for millions of customers in our facilities. We have built these facilities on highly successful business models and talented, capable individuals. But, get ready for this, that is the problem. When an organization has a successful business model, it is challenging to rationalize changing it. However, we know that the current model does not work well for this younger generation. To meet their needs for the future and most important customer of the casino requires change. And as we all know, change is likely to be the most challenging thing to accomplish given the organizational culture built on prior success. But do you have a choice?
Robert Rippee is Director esports Lab, International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas