It’s only day one of IEM Sydney and already the atmosphere is rivalling that of traditional sports
I switched out the coworking space for the arena, Melbourne for Sydney, and took the trip for Intel Extreme Masters at Qudos Bank. As I walked into the stadium, I was met with a roar of excitement – not for me, but for the teams battling it out for the CSGO title.
Esports is rapidly becoming mainstream and the differences between last year’s IEM and this year’s, is more. More of everything. More fans, more engagement, more sponsors, and more awareness. As esports looks to a broader audience base, new companies are coming on board. Vodafone’s partnership is a big step towards greater esports recognition and appeal.
It’s businesses like Vodafone that are taking that step towards investing in a rapidly growing market. Granted, not everyone understands esports, but that’s okay. It’s up to the industry to educate the market, just like any emerging sector. But I don’t think it’s that hard. I ran into a lady at the airport and she asked what I was heading to Sydney for. “Oh esports” I said, “it’s essentially competitive video gaming”. Now this lady was roughly in her 60s and her response was rather unusual, albeit very welcome:
“Oh my gosh that’s amazing. You don’t have to get wet in the rain or get injuries, that’s a fantastic idea.”
She instantly saw the upside of esports and followed up with “well, that’s the way of the future. My 3 year old grand-daughter knows more about those iPads and YouTubes than I do”. She’s looking at the upside of technology and what it can do to bring people together. More education of the market in this way will be a good step towards making esports bigger in Australia.
Back to IEM in Sydney. It’s going massive this year. If you’d seen ESL’s short Twitter clip, it highlights what some Australian’s think esports is. I’ve been going around the arena today, and let me just say it’s awesome. It’s like a mix between PAX Australia with all the mini expo halls and gaming booths, but then there’s like this big, almost live music performance atmosphere to the arena itself.
Bare in mind this is also my first big esports event, aside from community tournaments, PAX Australia (which is more an expo as opposed to competition), and some others, this is my first live event I’m attending. Sure, I’ve been watching things on Twitch, and seen all the footage from the events last year, but there’s nothing like being in amongst all the atmosphere.
The crowd is insane! Everyone is cheering, chanting, and screaming for their favourite players. Fans are dressed in team colours, and everyone walks on Cloud 9. It’s like going to the Grand Prix or the Supercars – fans, team jerseys, signings, merchandise, food, games, and more. In fact the event itself is more like a motorsport event than a rock concert.
Alrighty, I won’t say anymore on this matter, but I’ll leave you with these teasers of my video. I’ll be doing a video covering the event, player interviews, showcasing the atmosphere, going through the expo halls, and grabbing voxpops. It should be exciting so keep an eye out on it. If you want to follow the event over the weekend, jump onto Twitter.
Finally, if there’s anything you REALLY want to see or hear, tweet me, reply here, or message me. I’ll try and include whatever I can.