We all know how big sporting events, especially boxing, attract huge crowds in at Las Vegas Casinos with a subsequent spike in the activity in the Nevada sportsbooks. For Alex Igelman at Millennial Esports, in the future esports, and especially the big tournaments, will play a vital role in Sin City’s resurgence.
Tell us why Vegas casinos are looking at esports right now. Do casinos generally need to rethink their long term strategies?
Las Vegas has always been a leader in global entertainment. First it was the spectacle shows like Cirque Du Soleil. Then we saw the launch of big nightlife and the mega-clubs like Pure and Marquis. Today it is all about attracting the Millennial generation and figuring out how to keep them entertained. Esports is only part of the solution and is no different than boxing was in the 80’s and 90’s and UFC in the last decade. It is something the people want and we are giving it to them.
With Millennial, the dedicated venue at the Neonopolis in downtown has been open for pushing two months now. How are things going? Is downtown Vegas better suited to hosting esports events and welcoming fans than The Strip?
We are extremely happy with our progress and we are excited for what the future holds. In regards to Downtown vs The Strip, I think each area has its pros and cons. Obviously we went downtown for a reason. Our venue is stand alone and there is ample low cost parking, easy access and reasonably priced hotels and F B options that one cannot readily find on the strip. The strip also has its unique draw and character. I believe there is room for a variety of different venues in Las Vegas. We are proud to be Las Vegas esport pioneers and warmly welcome all those that intend to follow suit.
What makes for a great esports venue?
First and foremost you need a good team of dedicated people that are passionate about esports and are well respected in the gaming community to run production and operations. We are lucky to have this and continue to hire great new staff for our Las Vegas operations. Secondly, you need to listen to the gaming community, teams, publishers and fans and build a venue truly purpose built for esports. Great sound, light, and AV. Lightning fast internet connectivity. High ceilings and comfortable surroundings for players and fans alike. All in all you need to cater to the community and exceed their expectations. I think we did that at “thE Arena”.
You recently acquired a sizable $2m investment. What will this be used for?
For one, we recently announced an LOI to acquire an amazing technology team and data (streaming) analytics platform from Spain called Stream Hatchet. Some of the funds will be used for that. We also intend to use some of the proceeds to continue to build out the Millennial Esports team, technology platform and expand our content calendar and initiatives. And of course some of the proceeds will be used to fund general operations.
Millennial Esports will be the Platinum Sponsor of the Betting on Esports conference in London in September (13-15) – part of the Betting on Sports event. Why did you make this decision and why are you getting involved with this event?
We are looking forward to the September event and are excited to be the Platinum Sponsor. We believe the esports industry is still maturing and we feel it is our duty to educate the public and existing betting companies that esports is here to stay and will only get bigger and better in the future. Events like the one in London will go a long way to help educate and inform as well as put a spotlight on some of the issues and challenges the industry faces.
Seeing how Las Vegas is where we operate and at the same time, the gambling capital of the world, we wanted to help support the industry and shed some light on the advances that the State of Nevada and The Gaming Control Board has made in the regulation and oversight of the esports betting market. Millennial Esports intends to play a big part in the growth of esports and supporting events like this show that we are serious about that role.